Harnessing Trade Opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa
Greater integration into the international economy is a key means through which countries in the Middle East and North Africa can reap the benefits of already existing market opportunities to accelerate economic growth and job creation. An effective economic integration strategy requires complementing reductions in trade barriers with policy reforms to ensure that markets become more competitive (contestable for new entrants) and that operating and transactions costs for firms fall. This paper argues that there are two overarching priority areas for trade-related reforms in many Arab countries: reducing formal trade barriers further, and lowering trade costs through trade facilitation measures and improving “connectivity” for firms, including deeper regional economic integration.
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