Kamel Hassen projects rise of over 12% in inter-Arab trade, thanks to joint convention on Arab Rules of Origin of Goods

March 26, 2019

Assistant Secretary-General, head of economic affairs at the Arab League Kamel Hassen Ali projected on Tuesday a 12% rise in the volume of inter-Arab trade at the end of 2018, at a time in which the services edged up 39%.

These positive results are due to the setting up of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA) in 2005, added the official, who is taking part in meetings of the Economic and Social Council held as part of preparations for the Arab League Council, ahead of the 30th edition of the Arab Summit, March 31 in Tunis.

According to him, the inter-Arab trade had not exceed 5% before 2005 to reach 12% now as for goods and over 38% for services.

These figures will increase, given the changes taking place thanks to the joint convention on the Arab Rules of Origin.

The official indicated that several goods of Arab origin can be sold on Arab markets without customs duties, pointing out that the Arab countries had managed to conclude a detailed agreement on the majority of goods.

He recalled that the Arab League had finished off the Beirut round for negotiations on the trade in services agreement. Four countries have already inked this agreement (United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan), and the League expects the adoption of this agreement by member countries for its execution.

“The GAFTA is a new step towards Arab complementarity,” he indicated, specifying that the Arab League had set up a mechanisms inciting the Arab countries to implement the Economic and Social Council’s decisions at the end of the last Economic Summit held in Beirut (Lebanon).

Hassen Ali said that some countries sign the joint conventions but unfortunately do not implement them, hence the new mechanisms set up by the Arab League to oblige these countries to implement them.