Middle East Free Trade Area

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On May 9, 2003, President George W. Bush proposed the establishment of a Middle East Free Trade Area (MEFTA) within a decade, "which would link 22 Arab nations, Israel and the United States by 2013." [1]

"Across the globe, free markets and trade have helped defeat poverty, and taught men and women the habits of liberty. So I propose the establishment of a U.S.-Middle East free trade area within a decade, to bring the Middle East into an expanding circle of opportunity, to provide hope for the people who live in that region." --President George W. Bush, May 9, 2003.

Existing Free Trade Agreements

According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the following is the status of Middle East trade agreements as of March 2, 2006:


On May 9, 2003, President George W. Bush "proposed a plan of graduated steps for Middle Eastern nations to increase trade and investment with the United States and others in the world economy. The first step is to work closely with peaceful nations that want to become members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in order to expedite their accession. As these countries implement domestic reform agendas, institute the rule of law, protect property rights (including intellectual property), and create a foundation for openness and economic growth, the United States will take a series of graduated steps with countries in the region tailored to their level of development. The U.S. will expand and deepen economic ties through Trade and Investment Framework Agreements (TIFAs), Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs), and comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), and will enhance the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program for eligible countries." --Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

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