The EU has sought to ease frustrations that agricultural trade within the Mediterranean region has not advanced as quickly as hoped.
Trade ministers from the European Union and Mediterranean nations will meet late this month in Morocco to discuss an EU-Mediterranean free trade area, the Moroccan Foreign Trade Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
A high-powered Turkish delegation, headed by President Ahmed Necdet Sezer, arrived in Cairo last month to sign a free-trade deal with Egypt in what an editorial in the Turkish Daily News said could be a “turning point in relations between two regional powers.”
Both countries are currently committed to the Barcelona process and plan to join the Mediterranean free trade region by 2010. The process envisages the foundation of a free trade region consisting of 25 European Union and 10 Mediterranean countries, including Turkey and Egypt.
The proposed Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area (EMFTA), due to be established in 2010, might only generate slight net gains in regional economic welfare, but significant social and environmental costs in the Arab nations and Turkey, as well as extensive dislocations in south European agriculture.
As the European Union enters a difficult watershed moment in its internal affairs, Egypt and the partner countries in the EU’s ten-year Euro-Mediterranean Partnership ponder their own new administrative spiderweb. The new European Neighborhood Policy was designed to speed up free trade and strengthen human rights and political reforms - but it could pass us over altogether.