Iraq’s commercial attaché in Egypt said on Monday that the Arab League has set a 2012 deadline for the completion of a unified customs table in preparation for the 2015 launch of the Arab Customs Union.
“The customs tables include all the goods that are traded in the world, and therefore rerquire enormous effort,” Ali Abdul-Zahra told AKnews.
Zahra explained that the 2012 completion of the tables would give the participating states three years to discuss and finalize the working policies of the customs union before its launch.
Plans for the Arab Customs Union, to be established by 2015, were initially announced at the Arab League's 2009 Arab Economic and Social Development Summit in Kuwait.
The establishment of the union is planned to lead to an Arab common market by 2020, and to increase inter-Arab trade and integration.
The Arab customs union resolution contains 17 chapters and 179 articles regulating economic and trade relationship between Arab countries, and aims to boost trade and investment among member states.
“The continuing efforts to unify customs throughout the Arab world are important,” Zahra said, adding that the union will “contribute to the increase in intra-regional and Arab trade with the outside world, which will affect the welfare of the Arab people in general”.
Iraq is currently negotiating membership of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).