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12.01.20 | Agadir Free Trade Agreement

In this context, the `Agadir-SME programme` should boost economic integration between the member countries of the Agadir Agreement by applying Euro-Mediterranean rules of origin, strengthen trade and investment between agadir Member States and between them and the EU by improving the competitiveness of SMEs and strengthening supply capacity. The project also aims to attract foreign direct investment to the Agadir agreement countries and reduce trade barriers and barriers to integration. The main objective of the free trade agreement for the Arab Mediterranean is the creation of a free trade area between Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan and the European Union. The Agadir Declaration establishing a Free Trade Area (TDC) between the Hashish Kingdom of Jordan, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Tunisian Republic and the Kingdom of Morocco was signed in Agadir on 5 August 2001. The FTZ was created to develop economic activities, promote employment, increase production and improve living standards in the signatory Member States. The Agadir agreement to create the FTZ was signed in Rabat on 25 February 2004 and came into force on 27 March 2007. The first phase – pilot phase – of the “Agadir-SME programme” will be implemented in the member countries of the Agadir agreement: Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. The agreement offers new opportunities for the extension of trade between the four members and between them and the European Union by offering preferential access to these markets on the basis of cumulative origin. In November 2008, the members of the Agadir Agreement signed a protocol on textile trade. Overall, however, the impact of the agreement on the economy and policymakers remained “below expectations.” Just two weeks after it came into force, conflicts erupted between the Agadir agreement and the free trade agreement between the United States and Morocco. As part of the E FREI trade agreement in the United States, Morocco has agreed not to reduce tariffs on certain agricultural imports from third countries that are not net exporters of these products. The Arab countries that, under the Agadir agreement, expected that agricultural products would be sold to Morocco will inevitably be passed on.

In 2016, the agreement was revived after six years of inactivity. In April, Lebanon and Palestine joined the trade pact. Five protocols and two memorandums were also signed. The Agadir Agreement, which is in line with the spirit of the Barcelona Process (European Union), is one of the preferential regional agreements of the pan-European system. An important feature of the Agadir agreement is that it uses EU rules of origin. These are at odds with US rules of origin, making it more difficult for the countries of the Mediterranean and the Middle East to apply both in their trade relations with the two competing power blocs. The EU allows its partners in the Free Trade Agreement in the Mediterranean to accumulate added value. This means that it turns a blind eye to where value added has been added for preferential tariffs as long as it is in a country that is a partner of the free trade agreement. The United States, with the exception of special regimes such as those for export processing areas, considers only domestic value added in the country exporting to the United States. These conflicting regimes give the EU an advantage in competition with Washington to secure a Euro-Mediterranean free trade agreement as a counter-power to the free trade agreement between the US and the Middle East.

The Agadir agreement opens a free trade area of 120 million consumers. The Agadir Agreement is a free trade agreement between Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. Named after the Moroccan city of Agadir, where the process of creating the pact was launched in May 2001, it was signed in Rabat in February 2004 and came into force in March 2007.