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EU, Mediterranean ministers to meet in Morocco on free trade

Xinhua 2006-03-02

EU, Mediterranean ministers to meet in Morocco on free trade

RABAT, March 1 (Xinhuanet) — 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.

The meeting, to be held on March 24, will work out clear-cut guidelines for the efforts to be taken by all parties concerned inthe following years in order to realize the goal of setting up a free trade area in the region by 2010, said the statement.

The ministers will also discuss measures on a gradual opening of the agricultural and fishing product market, and start talks on opening the service market, it said.

Since 2001, the meeting has been held annually among trade ministers from the EU and Mediterranean countries. The previous talks were held in Belgium, Spain, Italy and Turkey.

The EU and Mediterranean countries launched a program called the "Barcelona Process" with an eye to boost all-round cooperation among the EU nations and countries in the Mediterranean region during a meeting in Barcelona, Spain in November 1995. The program now covers 25 EU members and 10 Mediterranean countries.

As the major trade partner of the Mediterranean region, the EU buys 70 percent of its export.

 source: Xinhua