Fourteen Arab countries, all members in the Large Arab Trade Zone, have recently instructed their borders authorities to drop customs taxes by 10 percent annually, reported Al-Rai Al-Aam .
The final customs reduction ratio was determined at 40 percent, this year on. The states progressively reducing customs duties are Jordan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Egypt and Morocco.
Arab economy ministers agreed in 1997 to set up an Arab free-trade zone in 10 years. The ministers have recently decided to speed up the timetable for the creation of an Arab free-trade zone, in a bid to liberalize the trade of products starting in 2003, four years ahead of schedule.
Trade between Arab countries represents only eight to 10 percent of the $300 billion worth of annual foreign trade reported by the 22 Arab League members. This, despite the fact that the formal move to an Arab Common Market was initiated in 1965, and a range of pan-Arab economic organizations have been in existence for decades. — (Mena Report)
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