A recent survey by the Strategic and Political Studies Center in Cairo revealed that 90 percent of Egyptians support strengthening exchanges and economic ties within the Arab world, reported the London-based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat daily.
According to those surveyed, enhanced political, economic and business relations between Egypt and other Arab states in the Middle East are perceived as beneficial to the Egyptian economy.
The Egyptian government apparently agrees with the public opinion, and has taken recent measures to further this goal. In March, Egyptian officials met in Amman with representatives of with 22 other Arab nations to discuss a joint Jordanian-Egyptian proposal aimed at boosting inter-Arab cooperation.
Inter-Arab exchanges have suffered greatly in the past due to political differences, especially since the Gulf crisis in 1990. Participants of the gathering explored ways to bolster regional trade, currently estimated at a mere seven to nine percent of total Arab trade with the rest of the world.
Measures were also explored to bolster inter-Arab commerce by adopting unified rules of export origin, promoting standardization, adjusting laws that might obstacle smooth trade between the Arab nations and establishing means of dispute mediation. These measures are considered crucial for reactivating the Arab Free Trade Agreement (AFTA), which is to be implemented in 2007. ― (MENA Report)
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