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Greater Arab Free Trade Area


Greater Arab Free Trade Area

Council of Arab Economic Unity
Flag of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area
GAFTA member
  Arab League and candidate GAFTA member
Administrative centerEgypt Cairo, Egypt
Official language Arabic
Type Trade bloc
Establishment 3 June 1957
 -  GAFTA signed 1 January 1998 
 -  GAFTA in force 1 January 2005 

The Council of Arab Economic Unity (CAEU) was established[1] by Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritania, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen on 3 June 1957. It became effective on 30 May 1964, with the ultimate goal of achieving complete economic unity among its member states.


  • To formulate regulations, legislations, and tariffs, aiming at the creation of a unified Arab custom area.
  • To co-ordinate foreign trade policies with a view to ensuring the co-ordination of the region's economy vis-à-vis world economy.
  • To co-ordinate economic development and formulate programs for the attainment of joint Arab development project.
  • To co-ordinate policies related to agriculture, industry, and internal trade.
  • To co-ordinate financial and monetary policies with the aim of achieving monetary unity.
  • To co-ordinate legislations for taxes and duties.
  • To formulate unified regulations for transport and transit in the contracting countries.
  • To draft common legislations on labour and social security.
  • To prepare a budget for the CAEU council and its affiliated bodies.

Agadir Agreement

The Agadir Agreement for the Establishment of a Free Trade Zone between the Arabic Mediterranean Nations was signed in Rabat, Morocco on 25 February 2004.[2] The agreement aimed at establishing a free trade area between Jordan, Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco and it was seen as a possible first step in the establishment of the Euro-Mediterranean free trade area as envisaged in the Barcelona Process.[3] All members of the Agadir Agreement have since joined the Greater Arab Free Trade Area, effectively superseding the agreement.

Greater Arab Free Trade Area

The Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA) is a pan-Arab free trade area that came into existence in 1997. It was founded by 14 countries (Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates).[4][5] The establishment of GAFTA followed the adoption of the Agreement to Facilitate and Develop Trade Among Arab Countries (1981) by the Arab League's Economic and Social Council (ESC) and the approval by 17 Arab League member-states at a summit in Amman, Jordan of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area Agreement (1997). In 2009, Algeria joined GAFTA as the eighteenth member-state. GAFTA is supervised and run by the ESC. GAFTA has a high income, population, and area and has significant resources available.[6]

The members participate in 96% of the total internal Arab trade, and 95% with the rest of the world by applying the following conditions:

  1. Instruct the inter-customs fees:
    To reduce the Customs on Arab products by 10% annually, the 14 Arab states reported their custom tariff programs to the Security Council of the Arab League to coordinate them with each others, except for Syria that is still using the Brussels tariffs system.
  2. Applying the locality of the Arab products:
    All members have shared their standards and specifications to help their products move smoothly from one country to another.
    The League also created a project to apply the Arab Agriculture Pact:
    which is to share the standards of the agricultural sector and inject several more restrictions and specifications where all members have involved in them.
    The Arab League granted exceptions, which allow a customs rate for certain goods, to six members for several goods, however rejected requests by Morocco, Lebanon and Jordan for additional exceptions.
  3. Private sectors:
    The League created a database and a service to inform and promote for the private's sectors benefits, and how their work would be in the GAFTA treaty is needed.
  4. Communication:
    The Economic and Social Council in its sixty-fifth meeting agreed on pointing a base for communication to ease communication between member states, and also to work to ease communication between the Private and public sectors to apply the Greater Arab Free Trade Area between members.
  5. Customs Duties:
    In the sixty-seventh meeting the Economic and Social Council agreed that the 40% decrease on customs on goods in the past 4 years of the GAFTA will continue and following the decisions of the Amman summit, the members will put more efforts to eliminate all customs duties on local Arab goods.

See also


External links


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