Assessing EU–Middle East trade relations

Patterns, policies and imbalances

Authored by: Nora Aboushady , Chahir Zaki

Routledge Handbook of EU–Middle East Relations

Print publication date:  December  2021
Online publication date:  December  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367330767
eBook ISBN: 9780429317873
Adobe ISBN:


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After more than two decades of regional integration, our chapter evaluates the European Union (EU)-Middle East trade relations through three main angles. First, we examine trade patterns (at both the country and the sectoral levels) to verify if integration led to exports diversification beyond these countries’ traditional exports. Second, we examine if the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership contributed to deepening integration or if it remains shallow. Third, we analyse the socio-economic outcome of the agreement. Our analysis of trade patterns suggests that Arab countries’ exports remain concentrated in traditional sectors of specialisation with limited value added. Moreover, integration remains shallow, since the expected outcome of tariff dismantlement was offset by the rise in non-tariff barriers. Finally, social and economic imbalances between the Northern and Southern shores of the Mediterranean are on the rise, especially those related to jobless exports growth and female employment.

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