Palestine Free Trade Agreements: An Overview
The Palestinian economy is deeply intertwined with the political situation in the region, and the lack of a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has hindered economic development in Palestine. However, despite the challenges, Palestine has forged several free trade agreements to promote its economic growth.
Free trade agreements (FTAs) are designed to promote trade and investment flows between countries by reducing or eliminating tariffs, quotas, and other trade barriers. Palestine has signed several FTAs with other nations and is also a member of a regional free trade bloc.
The first FTA signed by Palestine was with Jordan in 1998. This was followed by an FTA with Egypt in 1999, and with Tunisia, Turkey, and Morocco in the years that followed. These agreements covered a range of economic sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, and services.
Palestine is also a member of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA), which is a regional trade bloc comprising 17 Arab countries. The GAFTA was established in 2005 with the goal of increasing trade between member states and promoting economic growth in the region. GAFTA aims to create a single market for goods and services, with the eventual goal of establishing a customs union and a common market.
Through these FTAs and membership in GAFTA, Palestine has access to a larger market of over 420 million consumers. This has helped to expand its export markets and attract foreign investment. For example, the FTA with Jordan has resulted in increased Palestinian exports to Jordan and the establishment of joint ventures between Palestinian and Jordanian businesses.
However, the benefits of these FTAs have been limited by the ongoing conflict with Israel. Palestinian goods face significant barriers to entry into Israeli and international markets due to restrictions on movement and access to resources. This has made it difficult for Palestine to fully capitalize on the opportunities presented by these FTAs.
In conclusion, while the free trade agreements signed by Palestine have provided some economic benefits, the ongoing conflict with Israel continues to hamper the country`s economic development. The expansion of export markets and the attraction of foreign investment will require a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.