Amu Trade Agreement

A number of specialized committees have worked in areas such as food security, economics and finance, basic infrastructure and human resources. Since 1989, several working groups have been established to address technical issues and discussions have progressed on many fronts. Work has also been undertaken on a map of the Maghreb that could be put into circulation at an appropriate time. The five countries agreed on the creation of a regional development bank to finance projects in the region. At the technical level, important work has been carried out to formulate a uniform customs nomenclature and a common format for Maghreb certificates of origin has been finalised; they will be implemented with the implementation of multilateral agreements currently under discussion. The value of trade preferences for the Maghreb has declined slightly since 1986, particularly in the agricultural sector, with the main competitors of Greece, Portugal and Spain joining the COMMUNITY. 45/ The EU is also concerned about the growing economic disparities between the two regions in recent years. The EU recognises its vulnerability to the economic, social and demographic consequences of underdevelopment of its Mediterranean neighbours, which means that the EU is currently considering how to increase aid to the Maghreb. The aim is to establish a new form of long-term relationship that would anchor the region to the EU, perhaps on the nafta model.

The most important instrument will be the creation of an open economic space between the two regions, based on political dialogue and economic and financial cooperation. In the ongoing discussions, Maghreb countries are working to improve access to the European market for their exports and to increase European investment; they proposed the creation of a Euro-Maghrebin development bank, modelled on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and called for a reduction in external debt. 46/ When Spain and Portugal joined the COMMUNITY, agreements with Maghreb countries were adapted as a result of the Community`s attempt to safeguard traditional Maghreb exports.

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