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OVERVIEW OF SELECTED MENA ECONOMIES 25


countries such as Egypt, Syria, and Tunisia face higher tariffs among devel- oped countries, especially with respect to the EU25 in the case of Tunisia and Switzerland in the case of Syria. The regional average translates to a wide range of equivalent tariffs among MENA countries. The highest AVEs are applied by Tunisia and Morocco, rang- ing from 26 to 68 percent in the former and from 13 to 63 percent in the latter. Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon apply some of the lowest rates to most other MENA countries (see Table 2.8).


Among developed countries, Japan and Switzerland apply the highest protection to imports from MENA countries, especially with regard to Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria. Among developing countries, protection is higher, in India ranging from 41 to 68 percent. MENA countries face lower tariffs with respect to the United States than the EU25, but Lebanon is an exception. The rates are particularly low for Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia in the case of the United States, which has signed FTAs with the three countries, and for Lebanon and Morocco in the case of the EU25 (see Table 2.8). The MENA countries with the highest average tariff rates also have very high tariffs on selected commodities: Morocco has a 172 percent equivalent tariff on livestock, 71 percent on meat, and 140 percent on milled rice. Tuni- sia protects fruits and vegetables at an average tariff of 137 percent and olive oil at 152 percent. Both countries apply high protection to wheat, 58 and 50 percent, respectively. Fruits and vegetables, olive oil, meat, and cotton are consistently protected across the region (Table 2.9).


Egypt has a more evenly distributed protection pattern and lower rates on agricultural imports. Since the swearing in of a new cabinet in July 2004, Egypt has reduced its tariff bands, annulled import fees and surcharges incompatible with the old General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and made drastic cuts in tariff rates on most imports. These reforms are reflected in Table 2.7, which shows that the AVE in agriculture is less than half the one computed from the 2001 version of the MAcMAP database (IFAD/ IFPRI 2007). Egypt also exhibits the highest reform progress ranking, 100, in the World Bank’s structural reform indicators, which rank countries with respect to the restrictiveness of their current trade policies and the progress they made in trade reforms over 2000–04 (World Bank 2005).7 According to these indicators, Lebanon also ranks high, 87, implying that it has made more progress than 87 percent of the world’s countries. On the other hand, Morocco and Tunisia are among the 5 percent of countries with the most restrictive


7 The trade reform index measures the change in country rank in a worldwide ranking of simple average tariffs in 2000 and 2004 (World Bank 2005).


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