The free Arab trade agreement signed by 17 Arab countries became effective as from Saturday. Customs duties imposed on Arab-origin products were cancelled.
Arab League Chief Amr Moussa said the agreement targets setting up economic bloc to raise standard of living. In a related development, the 17 Arab customs authorities began enforcement of the agreement's provisions. A circular released by the Arab League Economic Unity Council was sent to the customs authorities in this regard.
Political rifts along with customs barriers and other factors kept trade among Arab states below nine per cent of their overall trade. This is projected to climb by more than 60 per cent in less than three years if things run as smoothly as drawn up by nations' leaders and economists, Dr. Taha Al Tayeb Omair, secretary-general for economic affairs, United Nation Development Programme was quoted as saying by Khaleej Times.
The decision to found the Greater Arab zone for free exchange was issued in the Arab summit held in Jordan in 2001.
According to Moussa, Algeria has provided all necessary documents two months ago and it is in the process of joining the Zone. Mauritania, Somalia, Djibouti and Comoros federation together with Algeria are the only countries out of the zone.