GAFTAاقرأ باللغة العربية
Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA)
|Validity||Pursuant to Decision No. 1317 D 59, the Economic and Social Council, at a meeting held on 19/2/1997, adopted the Executive Program and set a timeline for the establishment of an Arab Free Trade Area in accordance with the 1981 Agreement for Facilitation and Promotion of Trade among Member Countries.|
|Entry into Force||The Agreement entered into force on 1/1/1998.|
All trade among Arab member countries was subject to a gradual phase- out from 1/1/1998 until1/1/2005, which was the timeline set for establishing the Arab Free Trade Area. During the liberalization process Member countries were able, as per agreement during the implementation process, to schedule certain commodities for immediate liberalization. The FTA applies to all products as follows: Agricultural and
animal products, from Chapters 1 to 24, whether in their raw or processed
During the liberalization process member countries were able to exclude from tariff reductions certain agricultural products depending on the production season. However, since 1/1/2005 all agricultural products became exempt from customs duties and other fees and charges having similar effect.
Industrial products from HS Chapters 25 up to 96.
Provisions cited in this Program shall not apply to products or materials banned from importation, circulation or use in any member country for reasons related to religion, health, security and environment or because of quarantine rules. Member countries are required to submit a list of these products, as well as a list of any related amendments.
These provisions do not apply to commodities produced in free zones where specific procedures are yet to be established in connection with the treatment of such products.
|Preferential Treatment||Reduction rates reached zero level by 2005.|
Summary and Developments
- Gradual reduction in tariff rates, fees, and taxes with similar implications at an annual rate of 10% starting 1/1/1998 and based upon rates effective January 1st 1998.
- Products that are forbidden (to be traded) for religious, environmental, security, and health reasons are exempted from the Execution Program of GAFTA. These products will be subjected to applicable national laws.
- Removal of all non-trade barriers (administrative, quotas, and monetary)
- Application of the “Agricultural Calendar” given the following conditions:
- Maximum of ten products to be included on the list per country
- The maximum time allowed for a listed product to remain on the calendar is 7 months (per year) with a maximum of 45 months in total for all listed products.
- The Agricultural Calendar does not authorize prohibitions. Products included in the calendar are allowed to enter, however they do not benefit from the gradual reductions in tariff rates during specific time periods. Note that in other periods, the same listed products would be subjected to the lower rates.
- The possibility of exempting a number of industrial products from the Execution Program of GAFTA, subject to certain rules and conditions and based upon a decision of the Social and Economic Council of the Arab League.
For more information:
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