Qatar presided over the 38th Session of the Directors-General Meeting of Customs in the Arab States, held Wednesday in Cairo.
Chairman of the General Authority of Customs Ahmed bin Abdullah al-Jamal, represented Qatar at the meetings. Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Affairs at the Arab League ambassador Kamal Hassan Ali attended the meeting.
Ahmed bin Abdullah al-Jamal said in his speech that the two-day meeting will discuss seven items, foremost of which is the follow-up to the implementation of the customs issues that will be dealt with during the regular meetings of customs directors in the Arab countries, in addition to the customs issues of the unified Arab customs union.
The meeting will also discuss the work of the customs procedures and information committee and follow up the work of the harmonisation committee, he added.
The secretariat's memorandum on the Arab customs co-operation agreement will be discussed with the aim of urging countries that have not yet signed it, in addition to the proposal of Morocco to exchange experiences on compatibility with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement and another proposal to Morocco on exchanging experiences among Arab countries in the field of free zones and the role of their customs administrations.
Al-Jamal expressed hope that the meeting would come out with recommendations that enhance trade among member countries.
Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Affairs at the Arab League ambassador Kamal Hassan Ali stressed the importance of communication between customs directors to complete the requirements of the free trade zone, discuss customs issues and customs facilitation among member-countries.
He added that the Arab countries have made great strides within the framework of the implementation of the trade zone through the adoption of the detailed rules of origin for the Arab goods exchanged, which will come into effect on October 1 after many years of discussions. He pointed to the issue of trade in services, which is a major priority in the joint Arab economic action. The Arab agreement on trade in services was signed by ten Arab countries.
Arab League's assistant secretary-general for economic affairs pointed out that new mechanisms have been introduced within the free trade area, including the mechanism of adhering to the decisions of the Arab summits and the economic and social council in the decisions taken. He pointed out that some countries were taking some decisions contrary to the procedures of the trade zone because of their special circumstances, and that this mechanism will be presented to the economic and social council and then the next Arab summit for adoption.
He also referred to the transparency agreement and the need for the member-states to inform the League of the steps taken by them so as not to cause problems in trade, especially in cases of negative commodity lists imposed by some countries.
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