The US-Middle East Free Trade Area (MEFTA) initiative was an ambitious plan to achieve a single free trade agreement (FTA) between the United States and all countries between Western Sahara and Iran. It was launched by George W Bush in 2003. As with the old US-ASEAN FTA plan, the idea is to build the FTA bit by bit from the bottom up. Here, in theory, that means pushing all the countries up a scale of necessary conditions: from WTO membership to a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement leading to a bilateral investment treaty and/or an FTA.
The countries targetted to join MEFTA are: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel (and through Israel, the Palestinian Authority), Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria , Tunisia and Yemen.
Bush’s MEFTA project was clearly driven by US geopolitical and "security" interests and not just economic goals. The MEFTA project directly comes up against the EU’s plans for FTAs with the Mediterranean (EMFTA) and the Gulf states.
However, while the US initially set the deadline for MEFTA at 2013, the Obama Administration seems not to have followed through with it in the way that the previous administration had envisaged.
last update: May 2012
Fair trade group calls for release of TPP text | 28-Oct-2014
#StopFastTrack of TPP: National Week of Action | 26-Oct-2014
Why you should join the TPPA Action on 8 November | 25-Oct-2014
Experts condemn possible TPP trade-offs as talks resume | 20-Oct-2014
TPP rallies in Canberra & Sydney | 20-Oct-2014
Madrid contra el TTIP y el Fracking | 17-Oct-2014
Hupacasath First Nation puts China on notice over FIPA | 16-Oct-2014
TTIP Day One | 16-Oct-2014
TTIP Jour Un | 16-Oct-2014
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: A brief history of an agenda for corporate plunder | 15-Oct-2014
Karel de Gucht mis en boîte par Fakir au sujet du TAFTA | 14-Oct-2014
31 ciudades del Estado español se suman a otras 300 europeas el 11-0 contra los peligrosos acuerdos comerciales de la UE | 9-Oct-2014