No incompatibility between US-Maghreb and Euro-Maghreb partnership projects, US official
Regional, Politics, 5/3/1999
U.S. Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs Stuart Eizenstat, who engineered last year an initiative to establish a U.S-Maghreb partnership, said his project is not incompatible with the Euro-Maghreb partnership plan already underway.
The U.S-Maghreb initiative -- which will pave the way for regional integration between Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia -- will be a bridge for the promising market of the European Union, Eizenstat said at a meeting with U.S businessmen on the fringes of a symposium in Washington on the U.S initiative.
The symposium was attended by Moroccan Economy and Finance Minister Fathallah Oualalou, Algerian Finance Minister Abdelkrim Harchaoui and Tunisian Deputy Foreign Minister Tahar Sioud.
The Eizenstat initiative aims to "encourage the three Maghreban nations to harmonize their customs systems" in such a way to intensify bilateral trade exchanges and hence, publicize their potentials to U.S. investors.
The initiative revolves around establishing a permanent dialogue at the highest level between the USA and the Maghreban countries, encouraging these countries to lift barriers to ensure a better flow of trade exchanges and materializing inter-Maghreban complementarity, leading to better political relations.
During the meeting, Eizenstat highlighted the rich economic and integration potential of the Maghreb states. He recalled that in 1998 when Asia, Russia and Latin America were suffering serious economic and financial fluctuations, growth rate ranged between 5 and 6% in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
For his part, the Moroccan economy and finance minister underlined that the Maghreb region is attractive to investors not only in view of its large market (70 million souls) but also by the access that the region opens to other outlets.
Eizenstat announced that an electronic trade network will be launched next summer between the USA, on the one hand, and Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, on the other.
He added that business missions will be exchanged between the USA and North Africa part of the drives to translate the partnership initiative into reality.
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