The Agadir Agreement is a free trade agreement between Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. Named after the Moroccan city of Agadir, where the process to set up the pact was launched in May 2001, it was signed in Rabat in February 2004 and came into force in March 2007.
Its main purpose was to facilitate integration between Arab states and the EU under the broader EU-Mediterranean process. One important feature of the Agadir Agreement is that it uses the EU’s rules of origin. These are at odds with US rules of origin, which have made it difficult for countries in the Mediterranean and the Middle East to apply one and the other in their trade relations with the two competing power blocs.
Barely two weeks after it entered into force, conflicts between the mechanisms Agadir Agreement and the US-Morocco FTA emerged. Under the US FTA, Morocco agreed to refrain from lowering tariffs on certain agricultural imports from third parties that are not net exporters of those products.
While many stakeholders have found the Agadir Agreement has not met its full potential, trade exchange between Egypt and the countries of Agadir Agreement recorded $1.9 billion in 2019, compared to $1.8 billion in 2018, according to Minister of Trade and Industry Nevine Gamea.
Egyptian exports to the countries of the agreement amounted to $1.5 billion in 2019, compared to $1.4 billion in 2018, not considered a very big jump in trade, but these small increases have great significance on the rates intra-regional trade among the member countries helping to advance the large commercial and industrial potentials of these countries.
Minister Gamea emphasized the importance of enhancing joint cooperation between the countries of the agreement in the field of developing small and medium enterprises and benefiting from the pioneering Egyptian experience in this field, noting that Egypt has the appropriate work environment, laws, supportive legislation and political support for this type of projects.