Agadir Agreement

Declaration named after the Moroccan city  in which it was introduced in May 2001 and in which Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan expressed their intention to set up a Free Trade Area among themselves.

The formal agreement was signed on the 25th of February in the city of Rabat by the four foreign ministers. Attended as observers: foreign minister of Mauritania, Libya’s deputy secretary general in charge of the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), Othmane Madi, and AMU secretary general El Habib Boulaaras, Secretary general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, Member of the European Commission in charge of External relations, Christ Patten and a representative of the current Irish Presidency of the EU, Patrick O’Connor.

In the Barcelona Declaration, the 27 signatories agreed on the establishment of an Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area by 2010. This is to be achieved by means of the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements concluded between the EU and its Mediterranean Partners (1) together with free trade agreements between the partners themselves. Regional accords are seen as building blocks in this process, increasing south-south integration and preparing economies for complete trade liberalisation throughout the region.

The accord  aims at boosting the competitiveness of member countries and allowing their products into European Union (EU) markets, besides expanding cooperation, commercial exchange and free trade between the four participating states. The Agadir Agreement spectrum includes customs, services, certificates of origin, government purchases, financial dealings, preventive measures, intellectual property, standards and specifications, dumping and mechanisms to resolve conflicts.  The Free Trade Zone will make up a market of more than 100 million people and a combined domestic product of nearly 150 € billion.

The Ministers agreed on the establishment of four bodies to ensure the implementation of the agreement: the Committee of Foreign Ministers, the Committee of Foreign Trade ministries, the Technical Committee and a Technical,  which will be based in Amman.

The Agadir Process has been overseen by the EU since its inception. The EU has pledged 4 million Euro (funded under MEDA) with the establishment of a program which works for the creation of a pool of technical assistance to help progress towards South-South trade and integration.

(1) Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia and the Palestinian Authority. The other three partners, Cyprus, Malta and Turkey are covered by Association agreements dating back to the 1960s and 1970s which envisaged membership  and provided for a Customs Union.

The Agadir Agreement stipulates as follows: “any Arab country, member of the Arab League and the Arab Free Trade Zone and linked to the EU through an Association or Free Trade Agreement can adhere to the Agadir Agreement, after the consent of the member countries, at level of the Foreign Ministers Committee”.