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UAE MINISTER OF Foreign Trade H.E. Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi welcomed the recent accession of the Democratic People's Republic of Algeria to the Greater Arab Free Trade Zone. The executive program of the Zone commenced in Algeria at the beginning of this year.
H.E. considered the development an important step in promoting Arab economic integration as a key objective to be achieved by all the region’s countries, and a foundation for boosting joint Arab economic activities, in order to achieve the Middle East’s desired economic development. She explained that stronger regional economic relations would help Arab countries integrate with the global economy and deal with international political and economic unity.
The Minister also emphasised the need for concerted efforts among all member States to remove non-tariff barriers and other restrictions on the efficient flow of goods in conjunction with the current Tariff Exemption to complement the Greater Arab Free Trade Zone. The Minister invited the UAE private sector to benefit from the advantages offered by the accession of Algeria to the Arab Free Trade Zone, which she said would enable products and goods originating from the UAE to enter the Algerian market without payment of any customs duties. H.E. Sheikha Lubna explained that the Arab Free Trade Zone is the first practical step towards the establishment of an Arab economic bloc that will take a favourable place among the world's economies.
She added that the Zone is in line with global guidelines to establish or join economic blocs with the capability to manage international developments related to the opening of global markets to each other. H.E. commended the high level of cooperation between Algeria and the UAE under the excellent leadership of the two countries, which broadens prospects of joint cooperation complementing their aspirations and potential. She emphasized the need to further strengthen trade between the two countries in all fields to achieve common interests and open new horizons for further integration, partnership and investment.
The volume of foreign trade between the UAE and Algeria reached US$441mn in 2007, a 6.7 per cent increase over 2006. UAE investments into Algeria involved the fields of tourism, agriculture, industry, construction, infrastructure and banking. UAE companies are very interested in the Algerian market due to the existence of a free trade agreement between Algeria and the European Union, which provides substantial access to the European markets. The 18 countries covered by the agreement include the UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, Tunisia, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Yemen, and Algeria.