Arab free trade zone to kick off

An Arab free trade zone will come into effect on Saturday, eliminating customs duties on inter-Arab trade in a bid to stimulate the region's economy.

    The aim of the zone is to increase Arab economic prosperity

    The new year will see the removal of customs duties on all products

    and merchandise traded between the zone's members.

    "The Arab free trade zone currently includes 17 member states

    whose trade represents 94% of all Arab trade," Arab League

    Secretary-General Amr Musa told journalists at the league's

    headquarters in Cairo on Friday.

    "I hope that Mauritania, Somalia, Djibouti and the Union of the

    Comoros will soon join," Musa said of the 22-nation bloc's members

    not yet part of the free trade zone.

    Algeria has already begun the process of joining.

    The objective of the zone is to increase inter-Arab trade as

    well as Arab and foreign investment in the region, which will

    increase growth rates and "the standard of living of Arab citizens

    ", Musa added.



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