The Lebanese capital Beirut will host the fourth session of the Arab economic and development summit, which will last two days, in the presence and participation of leaders and representatives of the Arab countries.
The summit will discuss various issues and issues aimed at achieving greater integration and economic cooperation between the Arab countries and building on the results achieved in the previous three economic summits, most recently at the Riyadh summit in 2013. The first Arab economic summit was held in Kuwait in 2009, the second was held in Cairo in 2011.
In recent days, the Lebanese capital has seen a series of preparatory meetings for the Summit through the participation of the delegations of the Arab countries and of the General Secretariat of the Arab League in view of the adoption of the summit agenda. of the topics to be discussed.
In the social agenda, the Beirut Summit will discuss the issue of protecting refugee children in the Arab world. A regional initiative for the health of Arab women and a framework for the elimination of multidimensional poverty The summit will also discuss the issue of Arab child labor and ways to integrate women into the development of local communities.
However, despite the high volume of the agenda of the economic summit in various documents, the JAFTA dossier should occupy the position of Arab leader in Beirut, according to the Deputy Secretary of the Arab League for Economic Affairs, 39, Ambassador Kamal Hassan Ali, Free Arabic files are the most important files.
For his part, the Assistant Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Ambassador Hossam Zaki, stressed that there is active work at the University to reach the Great Arab Free Trade Area as soon as possible. He pointed out that 95% entered into force last October, and the lists of rules of origin are being defined at this time, thus defining the detailed rules of origin.
Zaki stressed that during the past year, the Arab Convention for the liberalization of trade in services has been ratified and will come into force when it is ratified by three Arab countries.
The Great Arab Free Trade Area, which came into force in January 2005, is a very important step in the process of Arab economic development and integration, which can be built and transferred to other more advanced stages on the path of economic integration between Arab countries, And then the common Arab market.
The establishment of the Free Trade Area (FTA) is one of the most important steps to encourage intra-Arab trade, thus widening the opportunities for integration between the Arab markets. Therefore, it represents a step forward in the path of Arab economic integration and investment of commercial opportunities available in the markets of the Arab countries.
It is expected that the full achievement of this region will create the investment environment in the Arab countries in order to attract more investments and joint ventures and improve the competitiveness of Arab products, as a consequence of the elimination of tariffs, cancellation of many procedures and taxes of similar effect, which have long been an obstacle to Arab-Arab trade.
It was here that he declared the creation of the Greater Free Trade Area during the Arab summit held in 1997 after the signing of 17 agreements by the Arab countries, in accordance with the decisions of the previous Arab summit held in Cairo in 1996 with the objective to create a common Arab market Faced with global conglomerates. Under this agreement, Arab countries have agreed to reduce taxes on products and goods of Arab origin, until such taxes are definitively canceled at a later stage and to establish an Arab free trade zone for imports. and the export.
The establishment of the Arab Free Trade Area was preceded by several meetings and consultations held by the Economic and Social Council of the League of Arab States between 1995 and 1996, commissioned by Arab leaders, to discuss organizational aspects of this region and establish an agreed timetable and implementation.
The consultations for the establishment of a calendar for the establishment of the Great Arab Free Trade Area within ten years, from 1 January 1998, have been completed in accordance with the provisions of the Facilitation and Development Agreement of the trade between the Arab States and also in accordance with the rules of the WTO and the general rules governing international trade. But the region came into force in 2005, two years ahead of schedule, and the number of Arab member states is currently 18.
The executive program of the Convention established the rules and regulations for the liberalization of trade between the Arab countries within the framework of the Great Arab Free Trade Area, in particular with regard to the progressive reduction of customs duties, taxes and charges having a similar effect, leading complete cancellation of such duties on Arab goods and products.
However, about 20 years after the announcement of the creation of the Great Arab Free Trade Area and about 15 years after its entry into force, the result is very modest and does not correspond to the aspirations and expectations that accompanied this important step for promote Arab economic integration. As figures and statistics indicate that the volume of trade between these countries does not exceed 10 percent of total trade volume with the outside world, despite the total exemption from customs duties for exported goods and services Imported between countries Arabs since 2005.
Many experts and analysts believe that this is due to many obstacles to the growth of intra-Arab trade and the increase in trade between Arab countries, some of which are related to technical and procedural issues related to the commitment of Arab countries to implement the terms of the free trade agreement, and the obligation to gradually reduce customs and customs tariffs, since many Arab countries still impose tariffs on imported goods and products of Arab origin, under different names .
There are obstacles and obstacles linked to economic, political and security conditions and to the institutional structure in the Arab countries and to the institutional structure of economic and social work of common nudity.
Where observers hope that the Arab economic summit in Beirut will be able to take many decisions and measures necessary to remove these obstacles, which so far have prevented the increase in the volume of trade between the Arab countries and thus help activate and revitalize the free trade area and turn it into reality on the ground.