Institutional Framework

The legal framework for EU-PA trade relations is the Interim Association Agreement with the PLO on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, signed in February 1997. Its trade provisions came into force on an interim basis in July 1997. These provide for duty-free access to EU markets for Palestinian industrial goods, and a phase-out of tariffs on EU exports to Palestine over five years. The Agreement also foresaw a gradual liberalisation in agricultural and fisheries trade, a process of liberalisation which has continued, most recently through an exchange of letters in 2005 amending Protocols 1 and 2 of the Interim Association Agreement.

The occupied Palestinian territory is a member of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership (sometimes referred to as the "Barcelona Process", and now known as "Union for the Mediterranean"). Launched in 1995, the partnership aims to establish a common area of peace, stability, and shared prosperity in the Mediterranean region. One important objective is the creation of a Mediterranean free trade area by 2010, with substantially liberalised trade both between the EU and the Mediterranean region, and between the Southern Mediterranean countries themselves. The launch of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2004 also helped move this process forward.

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