By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli, 2 August:
The U.S-Libya Business Association (USLBA) has welcomed the ‘Cairo Declaration’ by Libya, Tunisia and Egypt to seek closer economic cooperation, including the abolition of visas.
USLBA Executive Director Chuck Dittrich said: “If implemented, visa-free travel among citizens and tourists of the three nations would be a tangible and early example of what is possible to move toward greater regional trade, investment and economic integration in North Africa as a result of the Arab Spring.
“ Visa-free movement could lead to greater cooperation among business people and entrepreneurs and Libya, in the centre of the three nations, is poised to benefit tremendously by this action.”
Dittrich said that the ending of visa requirements would cause the US and other international investors to take greater notice of the local opportunities.
“This could be a powerful first step in an effort to address regulatory barriers among the three North African nations, which could spur the creation of regional supply chains and unleash economic rewards of regional cooperation”.
Dittrich added: “Each country possesses unique comparative advantages in terms of size of market, rich natural resources, dedicated focus on export orientation and creation of new economic sectors. However, to realise such gains it will be important for all three nations to continue to work together in terms of customs and other trade facilitation issues at the border, increased regulatory coherence among domestic and foreign businesses and investors in each nation, as well as in upgrading transportation infrastructure and continuing to build on joint education and training initiatives.”
Before the Arab Spring, three-way merchandise trade between Libya, Tunisia and Egypt accounted for approximately $2.8 billion (including trans-shipments) in 2010. [/restrict]