From its earliest years, the EU was prone to carry out policies aimed at bringing its relations with all Mediterranean countries within a single comprehensive framework of cooperation.

The Mediterranean area is indeed one of the EU's main trading partners but most of the Mediterranean countries rely even more on the EU market for over 50% of their exports.

In that sense, MENA countries (Middle East and North Africa countries) have been less effective than other countries in integrating into global production chains. This has constrained the diversification of exports and limited the expansion of high added value manufacturing activities. Partially, this shows the lack of effective regional integration limiting the scope for cross-border movement and two-way trade activities for parts and components. Trade policy restrictions, slow and inefficient customs procedures, weak transport infrastructure, and poor quality trade-supporting services have reduced the potential appeal of the MENA regions to multinational companies as far as investments and input sourcing decisions are concerned.

Among others, in the European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plans relevant to Lebanon and Jordan it is evidenced the need to enhance Lebanon's and Jordan's export potential by further relaxing of restrictions on trade in goods and agriculture, simplifying and upgrading customs legislation and procedures, and for both countries is required to improve functioning of customs service and modernization of customs procedures by means of:

  • Further harmonization and simplification of customs legislation, code and procedures in accordance with Palermo recommendations.
  • Strengthen co-operation with other agencies working at the border.

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"This publication has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union under the ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of FEPORTS Fundación Instituto Portuario de Estudios y Cooperación de la Comunidad Valenciana and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union or of the Programme's management structures."