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Expert Group Meeting on Transport and Trade facilitatio n Why Trade Logistics Matter in the Arab Region ? Mohamed A. Chemingui , ESCWA Movenpick hotel, Dubai, 10 -11 April 2013. Regional Characteristics. Economically diverse region ….. In terms of: - Size of economy;

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Expert Group Meeting on Transport and Trade facilitation

Why Trade Logistics Matter in the Arab Region?

Mohamed A. Chemingui, ESCWA

Movenpickhotel, Dubai, 10-11 April 2013


Regional Characteristics

Economically diverse region …..

In terms of:

- Size of economy;

- Size of population;

- Economic structures and level of economic diversification;

  • Geographical location and area;
  • Type of governance and institutions
  • Human capital and labor productivity
  • Level of integration to the world economy

Growth pattern has special characteristics……

  • Heavy reliance on oil exports;
  • Weak macroeconomic policies coordination
  • Weak regional trade and financial integration;
  • High population growth rates;
  • High unemployment rates, particularly youth and women;
  • High weight of public sectors and inefficient markets
  • High poverty rates outside GCC countries;
  • Very heterogeneous fiscal space levels;
  • Underdeveloped institutions;

Arab Economic Performance – selected indicators (2009)

  • Clear discrepancy in the region;
  • In 2009, Oil rich labor importing countries
  • recorded less that 14% of total Arab Pop; and more than 57% of Arab GDP
  • In 2009, Non- oil middle income labor exporting countries population
  • registered more than 3 times that of oil rich countless with only 25% share to total Arab GDP.
  • The 3rd group contributed 18% to total GDP and more than 40% of total Arab population.

No data available for Palestine, Comoros and Somalia.

Source WB

institutions agreements in support of regional economic integration
Institutions & Agreements in support of regional economic integration

Starting from Arab League in 1945…

  • 1950 Treaty for Joint Defense and Economic Cooperation;
  • 1953 Agreement on Trade Facilitation and Regulating Transit Trade;
  • 1957 Arab Economic Unity Agreement;
  • 1964 Arab Common Market Agreement;
  • 1981 Agreement on Facilitation and Development of Trade;
  • 1981 Gulf Cooperation Council;
  • 1989 Arab Maghreb Union;
  • 1997 Greater Arab Free Trade Area;
  • 2003 Initiation of the Framework Agreement for Liberalizing Trade in Services;
  • 2005 Full entry into force of Greater Arab Free Trade Area.
future actions
Future actions
  • Main declarations of the third Arab Economic Summit 2013
  • 1. Removal of remaining barriers (tariffs and non tariffs) on intra-Arab trade by end of 2013
  • 2. Creation of Arab Custom Union by 2015
  • 3. Accelerate the implementation of the “Aid for Trade” activities for the 22 Arab countries under the coordination of the Islamic Development Bank
  • Challenges:
  • Is there a room for an Arab Common Position for the Next WTO ministerial conference in December 2013 and potential agreement?
  • What about the FTAs signed by some Arab countries with the EU and USA if an Arab Custom Union will be implemented?

Intraregional exports as % of total exports (2010)

Export Performance:

Compared to other regions…

Arab region is less integrated, even compared to African countries.

Source: ITC

what determines divergent trade performance
What determines divergent trade performance?

Export concentration index by region

index (1995,2011)

Export concentration index by county and export performance (2000-2011)

  • Arab countries has high export concentration
  • Does high export concentration hindering export growth?
    • Empirical Studies .. Yes
    • Western Asia .. Yes (oil sector), but there are windows for diversification and improvements !
a high concentration of exports or low diversification level
A. High Concentration of Exports (or low diversification level)

Most Arab countries are highly dependant on few products for exports with high concentration of markets.


B. Low complementarity among Arab Countries

  • Low complementarity of trade in the region.
  • Could regional integration be beneficial?

C. High Non-Tariff Measures (NTM) among Arab countries

Share of burdensome NTMs and exports in LAS

  • Trade agreementsgrantingprefrencialmarketaccess DOES NOT eliminateproblemscreated by NTMs.
  • NTMs are particularychallanging in manufacturingsector.
  • NTMs in Agriculture: Sanitary and Photosanitaymeasures (SPS), technicalbarriers to trade (TBT), and rules of origin.
  • NTMs in Manufacture: Rules of originis the main callengefollowed by SPS and TBT measures.

D. . High Cost of Logistics

LPI is built around a survey of logistics professionals. By asking freight forwarders to rate countries on key logistics issues— such as customs clearance efficiency, infrastructure quality, and the ability to track cargo— It captures a broad set of elements that affect perceptions of the efficiency of trade logistics in practice

The Logistics Performance Indicator provides a simple, global benchmark

to measure logistics performance

  • The most performing Arab countries is the UAE
  • The second Arab country appears only at the 33 rank
  • Most of the remaining countries still poor in terms of facility of trade.
  • Poor logistics performance index means high cost of trade.
  • In many Arab countries, the expected impacts from tariff removal have been offset by the high logistic costs
  • To ensure gains from trade, Arab countries must make significant efforts in reducing technical barreirs to trade through the modernization of its infrastructure and logistics related to trade.
high disparities in terms of macroeconomic and sectoral policies

E. . High disparities in terms of macroeconomic and sectoral policies

High disparities in terms of macroeconomic and sectoral policies
  • Macroeconomic policies are too heterogeneous in the Arab word: Monetary policies are an example, where Arab countries did not achieved the minimum level of convergence. Some of them pegged their currencies to the US Dollar while others are more flexible.
  • The objective of monetary policies itself is not homogeneous among countries: targeting inflation, increasing domestic investment, or mobilizing savings...
  • Sectoral policies in terms of subsidies and public support harm competition and accordingly many countries excluded a significant lists of products from their inter-Arab agreements, mainly in Agriculture and related industries
simulations results impacts on trade
Simulations results: Impacts on trade
  • A full implementation of the FTA supports the increase of intra-Arab trade by around 10 per cent. If 50 per cent transport cost is reduced intra-Arab trade could increase by 38.5%.
  • The application of common external tariff increases trade with non-Arab partners as the market access will increase in both directions.
simulations results impacts on gdp at regional level
Simulations results: Impacts on GDP at regional level

Variation of GDP

  • Impact on GDP ranges from 0.17 % in scenario 1 to more than 3.56% in scenario 4.
  • This increase is shown for both oil and non-oil producing Arab economies with more increase in non oil economies.
  • Scenario 4 shows, in oil producing countries the GDP increases around 3% compared to 4.45% increase in non oil producing countries.
simulations results impacts on gdp at country level
Simulations results: Impacts on GDP at country level
  • Substantially impact on GDP is shown in all Arab countries.
  • Egypt will in particular benefit and will enjoy a 5.49% increase in GDP.
  • A number of GCC countries will also benefit such as SA, UAE Bahrain, Kuwait.
  • Theimpact on GDP is low in Oman and Qatar.
how to reduce trade costs escwa s activities
How to reduce Trade Costs? ESCWA’s activities
  • Current activities
  • 1. Identification and costing of technical barriers to trade: A survey on trade costs in selected Arab countries and on selected commodities
  • 2. Costing of strategies and impacts analysis: Impacts of reduction in trade costs on economic performance in the Arab region (by country) through alternative options of public-private investments and financing
  • 3. Aid for Trade:
  • Identification of projects to reduce trade costs (by country)
  • Costing the identified projects (by country)
  • Comparative financing options for trade costs related projects (by country)
  • Economic implications (by country)
  • Removing trade barriers is good but not enough
  • Making countries able to take advantage from trade openness is more challenging than removing tariffs
  • Other barriers and obstacles require specific and additional attention:
  • - inefficient trade logistics
  • - costly transport and financial services
  • - low productive capacities and poor diversification
  • - poor policy coordination and convergence