The Economic and Regulatory Policy Implications of Overlapping Preferential Trade Agreements in the Arab Countries: The Case of Egypt - Economic Research Forum (ERF)

The Economic and Regulatory Policy Implications of Overlapping Preferential Trade Agreements in the Arab Countries: The Case of Egypt

Hanaa Kheir-El-Din and Ahmed Ghoneim

September, 2004


50 pages

F6. Economic Impacts of Globalization
F2. International Factor Movements and International Business
F. International Economics

Egypt, a contracting signatory of the GATT since 1970, has remained an active member where it has always led the developing countries, together with India and Brazil, in their demands. Egypt joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995 and has adhered to all its agreements, with the exception of one of the plurilateral agreements (government procurement). Egypt has stressed that it faces problems in implementing a number of the WTO agreements, particularly Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS), Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement (TBT), and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement (SPS). Moreover, the abolishment of the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (ATC) is expected to put Egypt in a disadvantaged position vis-à-vis stronger competitors such as India, Pakistan, and China, as the existence of quotas has shielded Egypt from competition with such countries.

In the field of services within the context of the General Agreement of Trade in Services (GATS), Egypt has made commitments in 5 out of 12 main GATS sectors. The exact number of sectors and sub-sectors where Egypt has undertaken commitments reached 45 out of 160 sectors (WTO Country Profile, 2005a). It has undertaken commitments in the fields of construction and engineering related services, financial services, tourism and travel related services, maritime transport; and in 2002 it has undertaken several liberal commitments in the telecommunications sector to be implemented by the end of 2005.

Egypt has maintained horizontal commitments putting constraints on the acquisition of land and hiring of foreign workers; and following the GATS schedule, it has kept up to its commitments. Finally, in 2004, Egypt has joined the Information Technology Agreement. Egypt has also enforced its commitments under the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement, although there are on-going debates regarding violations in the area of pharmaceuticals as claimed by the United States of America (US). In 2002 Egypt has enacted a new comprehensive intellectual property rights (IPR) law that is in line with TRIPS rules and regulations.

Research Fellows

Hanaa Kheir-El-Din

Professor of Economics, Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University

Research Fellows

Ahmed Ghoneim

Professor, Economics Department, Faculty of Economics and Political Sciences, Cairo University



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