Egypt, Syria to launch negotiations over joint customs union

Egyptian Trade and Industry Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid on Thursday announced the formation of a committee mandated with conducting negotiations with Syria over the proposed establishment of a joint customs union.

Rachid agreed with Syrian Minister of Economy and Trade Lamia Assi that a customs union between the two countries, together with the Gulf states' joint customs union, could eventually become the hub of a pan-Arab customs union–providing a solid foundation for the eventual emergence of a common Arab market.

Rachid also announced that Egypt was stepping up its investments in the Syrian tourism sector, and that a joint Egyptian-Syrian bank would soon be established in Damascus–with a capital of some US$220–in order to facilitate the financing of joint trade and investment projects.

Assi was accompanied on his official visit to Cairo by the heads of 40 leading Syrian companies working in the textiles, food, tourism, construction and trade sectors.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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