The objective of the project is to reinforce economic integration and contribute to economic development, and income generation through SME-led growth. Specifically, the project aims to enhance competitiveness of SMEs and improve their supply capacity and ability to ensure wider use of the cumulation of origin (the concept of cumulation of origin allows products of one country of a free trade zone to be further processed or added to products in another country of that zone as if they had originated in the latter country), in view of increasing intra-trade among the four Agadir Agreement member countries and their exports to the EU and creating synergies and a new economic dynamism among the Agadir agreement Member States to strengthen sub-regional economic integration.
The project seeks to enhance competitiveness of SMEs
The Agadir Declaration for the establishment of a free trade zone (FTZ) between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Tunisian Republic and the Kingdom of Morocco was signed in Agadir on 05 August 2001. The FTZ has been created in order to develop economic activities, support employment, increase production and improve the standards of living within the signatories’ member states. The Agadir Agreement establishing the FTZ was signed in Rabat on 25 February 2004 and entered into force on 27 March 2007.
In this context the “Agadir SME Programme” was designed to relaunch and increase the economic integration between Agadir Agreement member countries through implementation of the Euro – Mediterranean rules of origin, to intensify trade exchanges and investments among Agadir member countries and between them and the EU by improving SMEs competitiveness and strengthening supply capacity. The project aims as well to attract foreign direct investment to the Agadir Agreement countries and to remove trade barriers and impediments to integration.
The first phase – pilot phase – of the “Agadir SME Programme” will be implemented in the Agadir Agreement member countries: Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. The agreement offers new opportunities for expanding commercial exchange among the four members, and between them and the European Union, providing preferential access to these markets based on cumulation of origin.
The project encompasses a set of capacity building, policy transformation and systemic improvements that are designed to boost the capacity of SMEs in the Agadir agreement countries to work together and to enhance their competitiveness on international markets. Actions and activities of the project aim at encouraging the business environment, strengthening SMEs’ supply capacity of high quality products as well as enhancing institutions’ ability to provide effective trade support services in the context of cumulation of origin.
With a total budget of 4.35 M EUR, the project is promoted by the Agadir Technical Unit (ATU) assisted by International Trade Centre (ITC) as the implementing agenc.
About the promoter and partner institutions
Agadir Technical Unit (ATU)
ATU was established in 2007 by four Agadir countries to carry out work on practical aspects of establishing a free trade area: rules of origin, legislative approximation, custom regulations, technical requirements, etc. It is based in Amman (Jordan) and has its permanent staff (Executive Director + technical staff from the member countries). The ATU is funded by the EU. Besides the ATU, four national focal points in the Trade ministries of Agadir countries have been established to guarantee an efficient implementation of the Agadir Agreement and that will be directly involved in the implementation of this project.
International Trade Centre (ITC)
The ITC Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. The ITC aim is for businesses in developing countries to become more competitive in global markets, speeding economic development and contributing to the achievement of the United Nations Global Goals for sustainable development.