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Despite the ongoing political unrest, the European Union (EU) remains eager to re-launch talks with Egypt on concluding a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
EU ambassador to Cairo, James Moran, confirmed that the European Union aims to begin negotiations with Egypt on widening the free trade agreement currently in place, making clear that the conclusion of a DCFTA would be expected to double the current value of commercial trade over the course of the next few years.
Pointing out that initial discussions on a far-reaching DCFTA ran into difficulties in 2013, following the ousting of former President Mohamed Morsi and the turmoil that ensued, Moran emphasized that talks would probably resume after the presidential and parliamentary elections.
Relations between the EU and Egypt are currently governed by an Association Agreement, which entered into force on June 1, 2004. The EU-Egypt Association Agreement establishes a free trade area with the elimination of tariffs on industrial products and significant concessions on agricultural products.
In addition, an ambitious agreement on agricultural, processed agricultural, and fisheries products entered into force on June 1, 2010. In November 2010, the EU and Egypt signed a protocol establishing a dispute settlement mechanism applicable to disputes under the trade provisions of the Association Agreement.
In June 2013, the EU and Egypt began an exploratory dialogue on how to deepen trade and investment relations, in particular through the possible negotiation of a DCFTA. The DCFTA would aim at improving market access opportunities and the investment climate and at supporting economic reforms undertaken by Egypt. It will extend significantly beyond the scope of the existing Association Agreement to include trade in services, government procurement, competition, intellectual property rights, and investment protection.
Overall, the future negotiations could lead to a gradual integration of Egypt's economy into the EU single market.
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