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PA looks to expand free-trade networks

Ma’an News Agency | 30/12/2010

PA looks to expand free-trade networks

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Authority Cabinet on Tuesday instructed a committee to complete negotiations for economic cooperation with South American trade bloc Mercosur.

In mid-December, Mercosur — which comprises Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay — agreed to negotiate a free-trade agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

The start of negotiations was followed by a series of declarations from each of the nations in the group, recognizing a Palestinian state, moves that sparked immediate rebuke from Israel and the US.

A deal with the region would mark the first Free Trade deal between the PA and any other nation.

Officials said they hoped the deal would be completed quickly, saying that it would go a long way to helping the Palestinians achieve economic prosperity, and came as part of the PA’s state building plan.

A deal Mercosur is one of three trade deals being negotiated by the PA, with plans in the works for a free trade agreement with Turkey and increasing ties with Europe.

During the previous week, EU officials approved a request to allow Palestinian agricultural imports to enter European markets without custom fees, and to lift all restrictions on Palestinian exports.

 source: Ma’an News Agency