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US, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia To Build New Trade-Investment Partnership

The Governments of Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and the United States, recognizing the value to their economies of enhanced trade and investment ties, and desiring to support increased jobs and economic growth, declared their readiness to explore initiatives to help achieve these goals.

The United States, as chair of the Group of Eight and the Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition, held discussion with these countries under the Trade, Investment and Integration Pillar at the Dead Sea in Jordan on Wednesday and Thursday.

In a statement issued at the end of the two-day conference, the US State Department said the partnering countries pledged to intensify efforts to boost trade and investment among them, and also to work collectively to identify new opportunities for increasing regional competitiveness.

"We believe that a new Trade and Investment Partnership can help democratic governments deliver economically for their people through concrete measures, both near-term and longer-term, to enhance trade and investment, support the creation and retention of jobs, and promote innovation, economic growth and development," the statement added. The Middle East/North Africa region has potential to become one of the most dynamic in the world through trade within the region and with global markets, and by fully developing its greatest untapped resource -- the talent of its people.

The United States, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia agreed to build upon existing obligations and initiatives, such as the Agadir agreement, GAFTA, other bilateral trade and investment agreements and frameworks, and their mutual efforts in support of a strong World Trade Organization.

They agreed to focus initially on investment, Trade Facilitation, Support for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), and Good Regulatory Practices and Transparency.

"A key objective of our engagement is to create common approaches to priority trade and investment issues, whose cumulative effect can improve Middle East/North Africa region countries' access to each other's markets as well as to the United States and beyond," the statement said.

Representatives of the five nations agreed to meet periodically to assess progress under, and to develop further this discussion, and welcomed the possibility of including other Deauville Partner countries.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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