Maghreb Union Takes First Step Toward Creating Free-Trade Zone
By: Soumia Yousfi Translated from El-Khabar (Algeria).
In a meeting attended by Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki last Friday, the Maghreb Union member states agreed on the Algerian proposal, which calls for a Maghreb Union (MU) based on a multi-phase program that works toward balanced economic exchanges between member states.
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In a meeting of Maghreb Union member states, a proposal to increase economic cooperation between the north African countries — possibly even leading to the adoption of a common currency — was approved. Soumia Yousfi reports that economists have endorsed greater cooperation and planning to bolster the region’s economies.Publisher: El-Khabar (Algeria)
The Opening of the Border and the Establishment of a Single Currency with Priorities
Author: Soumia Yousfi
First Published: September 20, 2012
Posted on: September 20 2012
Translated by: Joelle El-Khoury
The proposal, which was prepared by the Algerian Confederation of Employers, which attended the meeting, was approved as the MU’s member states are focusing on opening borders, creating a common currency and other demands that froze the establishment of a free-trade zone. This is due to political differences among the MU member states.
On the other hand, in a phone call with El-Khabar, head of the Algerian Confederation of Employers Boualem Mrakech, who attended the meeting in Carthage Palace, said, “Building the Arab Maghreb requires a multi-phase program that goes hand in hand with the economic reality in each of the union’s countries. The program would represent a balanced economy that ensures the interests of each member state.”
In the same context, Mrakech said that economists and representatives of many European and Asian countries unanimously agreed that employers and economists would take on an essential and effective role in developing the trade exchanges among MU states.
Mrakech added that trade deals among all member states will be discussed at the heads-of-state summit scheduled for the end of this year, as called for by Tunisia’s president.
It should be noted that Algeria's trade exchanges with the Arab Maghreb Union increased by 18%, or 1.6 billion euros ($2 billion), in 2011, according to figures issued by Algerian customs. Trade exchanges largely decreased with Libya, while they remained about the same with Tunisia. Morocco was still the first customer of Algerian exports in 2011. As for the imports, Tunisia occupied the first place and its imports rose by 8-10% in 2011.
Compared to the Maghreb total exchanges, trade exchanges remain marginal investments among MU member states.
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