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In 1995, policymakers from around the region met in Barcelona to issue a key communiqué, the Barcelona Declaration. Since then, integration was pursued primarily in the form of trade agreements, with the signing of Association Agreements (AAs) with the four Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Countries (SEMCs) studied in this report (Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia) but also with Algeria, Israel and Lebanon.
But what was the impact on jobs? It seems the results are underwhelming. SEMCs, as other countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, still struggle to attract FDI, lag behind peers in terms of non-oil international trade flows, and, most importantly, face persistent unemployment, informality and low female labor force participation. Hence the question the report tries to address: Why did the reduction in tariffs not bring about changes in key labor market outcomes?
With this in mind, the report is structured as follows.
This report was produced by the CMI with contributions from ITC, ERF and FEMISE.
Please cite as follows: Moreno-Dodson, Blanca; Augier, Patricia; Tsakas, Constantin; Louis, Maryse; Hachem-Naas, Lilia; Ben Romdhane, Saoussen; Zaki, Chahir; ElSayed, Neamatallah; Foda, Alia. 2022. “Trade Liberalization and Jobs in the Mediterranean: Towards a New Generation of Trade Agreements”, Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI-UNOPS), November.