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Changes in cross-border trade costs in the Pan-Arab free trade area, 2001-2008

  • Hoekman, Bernard
  • Zarrouk, Jamel

The Pan-Arab Free Trade Area, negotiated under auspices of the Arab League, came into force in 1997. Under the agreement all tariffs on goods of Arab origin were to be removed by January 1, 2005. This paper summarizes the results of a firm-level survey in nine countries regarding the implementation of the Pan-Arab Free Trade Area. A majority of respondent companies report that tariffs on intra-regional trade have largely been removed, and that there has been a marked improvement in customs clearance-related procedures. Costs associated with administrative red tape and weaknesses in transport-related infrastructure services are ranked as the most important constraints to intra-regional trade. This suggests that from a policy perspective, efforts to reduce real trade costs deserve priority, including transportation and logistics services. Periodic monitoring and assessment of trade incentives and performance would help governments to benchmark performance and identify priority areas for action, at both the national and the sub-regional levels.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5031.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5031
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  1. Péridy, Nicolas & Abedini, Javad, 2008. "The Greater Arab Free Trade Area(GAFTA): an Estimation of Its Trade Effects," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 23, pages 848-872.
  2. Hiau LooiKee & Alessandro Nicita & Marcelo Olarreaga, 2009. "Estimating Trade Restrictiveness Indices," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(534), pages 172-199, 01.
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