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Harmonising Horizontal Hygiene Standards and MENA Market Access

Atef Idriss, MEFOSA

(For the Advances in Liquid Processing Conference at the Third Arabian European FoodTec Days)

Regional integration is a major feature of trade policy strategies of all Arab countries, having mostly signed a series of multilateral, regional, and bilateral trade agreements over the last 20 years. These FTA s cover both intra and extra trade agreements with blocks and countries - such as Egypt , GCC, & AGHADIR signatories : as well as turkey , EU, & USA- with the aim of enhancing trade and economic integration and ultimately stimulating the region’s potential for growth and job creation.

From its annual report[1]the GUCCIAAC showed that continuing conflicts in a number of countries in the region levied heavily on trade activities in the region, especially the intra-regional trade . The consequences of which are being felt most acutely in the Levant that used to have strong economic ties between Egypt , Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Trade among these countries had been higher, on average, than among other Arab countries, but it has collapsed as the clutter of violence and related feuds resulted in technical barriers to trade, which tallied as the third most negative factor hindering trade.

Finally to further promote market access at all times ,and for a better compliance with CODEX specifics, MEFOSA believes in the need support UNIDO’s efforts in launching  Arab Accreditation Cooperation ( ARAC ) , in empowering AIDMO  standardisation practices  , and recognising the need of harmonising Pan Arab Sanitary and Hygiene Standards while  recognising  LAS efforts in launching the  Pan Arab Food Safety Authority .

 [1] Arab Economic Outlook Annual Report 2015

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