Prensa Latina, Cuba
Arabs Agree to Establish a Free Trade Zone by 2015
22 January 2013
Riyadh, Jan 22 (Prensa Latina) The agreement to create a customs union to establish a free trade area in 2015 stands out among the results of the Third Summit of Arab Economic and Social Development, which closed here today.
We underline our determination to complete the prerequisites for free trade area by the end of this year, said the secretary general of the Arab League, Nabil El Arabi, at the close of the two-day meeting.
Statistics show that foreign direct investment in the area fell to 43 billion dollars in 2011, of over 68 billion reported the previous year, partly due to political riots that affected various schemes of the zone.
He admitted that they still have problems determining which goods are from Arab countries and the percentage of foreign components.
According to the regulations of the Customs Union, goods free of taxes must have at least 40 percent of components from countries of the area.
For his part, the Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf said the officials from his country who work in the issue still try to overcome obstacles related to the origin of goods.
He also revealed that the summit delegates approved amendments to strengthen regional capital flows among Arab countries, now very hampered by laws that complicate foreign investment.