Minister of Trade and Industry Tarek Kabil announced in a press statement on Sunday that he will participate, after an eight-year Egyptian hiatus, in the 10th meeting of trade ministers of the Union for the Mediterranean (UFM) countries, which is being held in Brussels on Monday.
The meeting aims to follow up and activate cooperation initiatives among the countries of the UFM region, which includes 43 countries, including 28 European Union member states and 15 southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries.
The minister said that the 10th meeting will discuss a number of key issues related to Euro-Mediterranean cooperation, including supporting the trade cooperation between the countries of the Mediterranean and the European Union through the completion of discussions that are aimed at strengthening existing free trade agreements and discussing the signing of new comprehensive free trade agreements.
“The meeting will also discuss supporting the inter-trade cooperation between the southern Mediterranean countries, by expanding the geographical scope of the Agadir Agreement and expanding its scope to include trade liberalisation in services and harmonisation of international standards,” the minister added.
The Agadir Agreement is a free trade agreement between Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia, which came into force in March 2007.
Moreover, the minister pointed out that they will also discuss, during the meeting, launching a mechanism to facilitate trade and investment in the UFM region, including launching a website that would allow trade statistics and tariffs to be implemented and will also allow the implementation of the sectoral cooperation plan in the textiles, readymade clothes, environmental goods, automotive, and information technology sectors.
Kabil stated that the meeting will also discuss a work plan to strengthen cooperation in the protection of intellectual property rights and institutional capacity-building for the countries of the southern Mediterranean.
The minister is also scheduled to hold a series of bilateral meetings with a number of officials from the European Union and the member states of the Union for the Mediterranean.