Moussa: Customs Union Must For Arab Common Market

Amr Moussa, head of the Egyptian Congress Party and former secretary-general of the Arab League, predicted that the third Arab Economic Summit would boost Arab joint economic activity and will consequently lead to the establishment of a common Arab market in the near future.

Moussa expressed his hope the summit would support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), particularity following the two previous economic summits in Kuwait and Sharm El-Sheikh, which he said, approved billions of dollars in this regard.

In a short interview with a local newspaper, Moussa said inter-Arab trade has been progressing since 2010 but at a slow pace, which necessitates the need to move toward a unified Arab customs union.

Recalling the measures approved during the Kuwait economic summit in 2009, he said ample steps were needed for the establishment of a unified customs union to pave the ground for a common Arab market. The summit set up a special account at the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD) to fund the program by allocating $ 25 billion, to be financed by Arab countries, as well as regional and international development funds, he added.

Moussa said the Riyadh economic summit will support training programs in the Arab countries, since the two previous economic summits recommended the need to fund billions of dollars to create more job opportunities for the younger generations. Furthermore, the Kuwait summit urged Arab governments to take the necessary steps to facilitate the flow of Arab manpower between member countries, in a bid to bring down unemployment rates at national and Arab levels.

The former Arab League chief hoped the summit would encourage the establishment of social institutions concerned with Arab women.

The economic summit comes at the right time as it will address challenging issues that have cropped up during a critical period witnessed by many countries in the region in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.

For his part, Moroccan Foreign Minister Saad Al-Uthmani said the political will to achieve economic integration between Arab counties is now stronger than ever.

The Moroccan minister, speaking to local media sources, stressed the fact that his country is looking forward to cooperate with other Arab counties in the area of renewable energy sources.

Arab News

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