|Arab Ministers Recommend for Arab Free Zone |
Arab Ministers Recommend for Arab Free Zone
Amman, Jordan -- March 24, 2001 (WAM) -- Arab ministers of economy and commerce have recommended the immediate setting up of Arab free zone at the end of their extraordinary meeting here early today, UAE minister of economy and commerce, disclosed to the Emirates News Agency, WAM.
Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi said that the ministers were of the view that the activation of the free zone should come through a number of steps, including the immediate withdrawal of customs hindrances, including administrative, technical and financial ones.
The minister said that the ministerial meeting had given their blessings to steps taken by some member countries to cut down the period within which to establish free trade zones between them in implementation of the 9th chapter of article one of the programme, adding that the ministers had charged the Arab Social and Economic Council, ASEC, to study the best way to expedite the implementation of the programme which calls for the systematic cutting down of customs rates between Arab countries, which would subsequently lead to a total abolishing of customs charges by the year 2005, proposed the UAE, instead of the year 2007 decided earlier.
The UAE is one of the few Arab countries which have signed free trade agreements with a number of Arab countries, including Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, with which the UAE signed agreements that will see to the gradual slashing of customs tariff on local products, leading to a total exemption in 2003.
On the importance of transport in the realisation of economic integration between Arab countries, Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi said that the ministers had also recommended that the ASEC be charged with finding ways to link member countries by air, land and sea and how best transportation systems and means can be improved, adding that the ministers had also recommended that Arab cabinets should respectively charge their officials responsible for environment to prepare fully for the 2nd Earth summit, scheduled in South Africa next year and to coordinate their stand on issues on the summit's agenda.
The recommendations will be referred to Arab foreign ministers meeting, to be held here today in preparation for the Arab summit on March27 and 28.