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International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper for Algeria analyzes the potential economic impact of Algeria’s Association Agreement with the European Union (AAEU). The paper lays out the major elements of Algeria’s AAEU and makes a comparison with other AAEUs. It discusses the potential economic implications (costs and benefits) of the agreement, and elaborates economic policy issues and challenges. The paper also takes stock of Algeria’s business climate as the authorities consider the use of the fiscal space created by higher hydrocarbon revenues to tackle Algeria’s jobs challenge.
Mr. Stephen Tokarick
This paper points out that while many developing countries seek to increase their export earnings, they have not embraced fully the notion that their own pattern of import protection hurts their export performance. The paper quantifies the extent to which import protection acts as a tax on a country's export sector and finds that for many developing countries, the magnitude of the implicit tax is substantial-about 12 percent, on average, for the countries studied. The paper also illustrates the effects of various tariff-cutting scenarios in the Doha Round on export incentives and concludes that, in general, developing countries could increase their export earnings by reducing their own import tariffs, but countries must be careful about how these tariff reductions are achieved. For example, tariff-cutting schemes that exempt certain sectors could actually be harmful.

Abstract

This book brings together recent IMF research on how the Middle East and North African countries are grappling with various macroeconomic challenges. It rigorously analyzes policy alternatives for a range of relevant topics, including the implications of changing demographic trends for growth and unemployment, determinants of inflation, financial-sector reform and Islamic banking, fiscal sustainability in oil-dependent economies, exchange rate and trade arrangements, and impediments to foreign direct investment. The book’s overall theme-self-sustaining and faster growth can be achieved through comprehensive structural reforms and closer collaboration between the region’s policymakers and the international community.

International Monetary Fund
Tunisia showed strong economic performance and social achievements owing to its prudent macroeconomic policies. Executive Directors commended this development, and underscored the importance of complementing the trade liberalization with the European Union with comprehensive trade and price liberalization measures, and sustained structural reforms. They appreciated the achievement of price stability, and noted the dual role played by incomes and monetary policies. They welcomed the substantial improvements in the quality and dissemination of statistical information, and the country's subscription to the Special Data Dissemination Standard.
Ms. Maria-Angels Oliva
This paper studies the structure and evolution of trade protection in the Middle East and North African (MENA) countries in the 1990s. MENA countries use tariffs and nontariff barriers, and tariff dispersion and nontariff barriers, as substitute protection measures. Tariff levels and tariff dispersion are complements. Excluding Tunisia, the cross-country correlation between tariff and nontariff barriers is -0.46. The correlation between tariff dispersion and nontariff barriers is -0.8. The paper also develops an overall index of trade protection and finds that tariff levels, their dispersion, and nontariff barriers account for 60 percent, 10 percent, and 30 percent of overall protection, respectively.
Mr. Henri C. Ghesquière
By establishing free trade for industrial products in 12 years, the European Union’s Association Agreements with countries in the Mediterranean region seek to promote accelerated economic growth. This paper reviews the literature and evaluates the economic benefits and costs for Tunisia, Morocco, Lebanon, Egypt, and Jordan. It concludes that the benefits could be substantial, but only if accompanied by deep supplementary reforms, including extending trade liberalization to services and agriculture and on a multilateral basis, improving the environment for foreign direct investment, ensuring an adequate fiscal and exchange rate policy response, and strengthening European Union assistance.
Mr. Oleh Havrylyshyn

Abstract

The economy of the Mediterranean region countries - which in the present study include Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, as well as Israel and Turkey - experienced a period of strong and dynamic economic development in the late 1970s and early 1980s. But since the 1980s these economies have experienced a much less dynamic evolution and tended toward stagnation. This paper by Oleh Havrylyshyn, presents an assessment of the experience of these economies in a framework of a broad trade strategy perspective for Mediterranean countries, and examines prospects for the future.

Ms. Susan Fennell, Ms. Patricia Alonso-Gamo, and Mr. Khaled Sakr
This paper addresses concerns that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with the exception of the GCC economies, has lagged behind in trade liberalization. This delay has adversely affected production efficiency and consumer welfare and could reduce the region’s ability to attract foreign investment. Against this background, the paper examines the major challenges facing MENA if it is to benefit from the opportunities presented by the Uruguay Round and the European Union Mediterranean Initiative. It concludes with an overview of measures that MENA countries will need to implement to benefit from these trade-enhancing initiatives.