The Union for the Mediterranean Secretariat organized its first UfM Business Forum on 18 June 2019 in Cairo, Egypt. The event was fully dedicated to Trade and focused on two interrelated themes, namely Market Access and the e-Commerce. The Forum brought together 150 stakeholders and representatives of governments, business communities, think tanks, trade negotiation circles, as well as regional and international organizations.
Throughout the Forum, the participants stressed the need to fully implement and operationalize the existing bilateral and regional trade arrangements in the UfM region in order to promote economic integration in the Euro-Mediterranean area, and highlighted the fact that deeper and more comprehensive trade relations need to include new sectors and effectively tackle non-tariff measures in the region. Capacity building, technical assistance, and the transfer of knowledge and expertise are indispensable for a functional trading system with a robust regulatory framework and for the full use of free trade opportunities. They also highlighted the Agadir Agreement as a good example on South-South Cooperation in the field of trade, which merits political, financial and technical support and promotion.
The UfM Business Forum serves as a first step towards a structured dialogue on Trade that will see further editions of the Forum over the coming years to promote trade and investment in the UfM region.