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Summary: 31 August 2011, Brussels – Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in the International Trade committee today unanimously recommended that the European Parliament should consent to a pending agreement between the EU and the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The deal sets out further trade liberalisation for agricultural and fisheries products.
The agreement would allow Palestinian agricultural products, processed agricultural products, as well as fish and other fisheries products duty-free access to the European market. MEPs hope that the move will support the development of the Palestinian economy by increasing exports into the EU.
"The future of the region depends on the improvement of the economic development. Trade can serve also as a development mechanism that contributes to the reduction of poverty and the establishment of political stability", said EP rapporteur Maria Eleni Koppa (S&D, EL). Furthermore she underlined that the deal conformed with rules of origin and that the Palestinian economy must be the main beneficiary of the trade liberalisation.
In the unlikely event of Palestinian imports of agricultural products and fisheries products increasing to a point where they distort the internal market, the EU can adopt safeguard measures.
The draft legislative resolution is scheduled to be voted by plenary during the 26-29 September session in Strasbourg. The import conditions are valid for a period of 10 years, which can be extended. Following the EP consent, the entry into force of the agreement is foreseen for the beginning of 2012.
The Palestinian Authority is the smallest trading partner for the Union in the Euro-Mediterranean region and one of the smallest worldwide. Total trade amounted to €56,6 million in 2009, €50.5 million of which were EU exports. Union imports from the Palestinian Authority totalled only €6.1 million in 2009, with agricultural products accounting for 70.1% of this total.
In the chair: Vital Moreira (S&D, PT)