Without discussing in depth the advantages and disadvantages, we must recognise that, without the agreement, our agricultural exports would hardly have been able to penetrate European markets. Financial and technical assistance was generally paid to Egypt after the signing of the agreement to help the country develop its industrial sector and promote its exports. In 2004, Egypt signed the Agadir Agreement with Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. This agreement removes all trade tariffs between them and harmonizes their rules on product standards and customs. Trade in processed agricultural products is included in a Protocol to the Main Agreement (Article 4(b) and Protocol A). In addition, trade in agricultural commodities is covered by three bilateral agreements negotiated separately between Iceland (Agricultural Agreement between Iceland and Egypt), Norway (Agricultural Agreement between Norway and Egypt) and Switzerland/Liechtenstein (Agricultural Agreement between Switzerland and Egypt), of the one part, and Egypt, of the other part. These agreements, which are part of the instruments for the creation of the free trade area (Article 4(d)), provide for tariff concessions. The EU and Egypt meet regularly to discuss issues and best practices in the implementation of the agreement. The committees meet regularly. It has been more than 15 years since Egypt and the EU negotiated their Association Agreement (AA), which, after the massive development of free trade agreements (FTAs), now seems superficial and focuses only on trade in goods and tariff reductions. If Egypt decides today to renew the framework of its cooperation with the EU, it must venture into a deeper and broader free trade agreement, known as the “new generation” free trade agreement. Despite criticism of the AA, a new generation of trade agreements, deeper and broader than the current ones, is becoming more compelling than ever for both partners. Aware of Egypt`s strength and strategic position, the EU is convinced of Egypt`s stabilising role in the region and its effective role in the fight against illegal immigration.
The EU also recognises Egypt`s influence in Africa and its fight against terrorism at national and regional level and strives to maintain strong and stable relations with Egypt, which are essential for the whole Mediterranean. In November 2010, the EU and Egypt signed a protocol establishing a dispute settlement mechanism applicable to the trade parts of the Association Agreement. Egypt has not yet ratified the protocol. Based on current practice, Egypt should not fail to obtain trade assistance in order to prepare for some long and lengthy negotiations. By modernising the services sector and creating its competitive advantage, an agreement with the EU would also strengthen Egypt`s profile in its relations with the African continent under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. The agreement covers trade in industrial products, including fish and other seafood products, as well as processed agricultural products. In addition, some EFTA States and Egypt have concluded bilateral agreements on basic agricultural products, which are part of the instruments for the creation of the free trade area. A Joint Committee composed of representatives of the EFTA States and Egypt monitors and manages the application of the Agreement (Articles 37 and 38).