Trade and Trade Agreements in MENA countries

  • Photo: ?

In the MENA region, many countries have negative trade balances or rely on the exportation of fossil energy to balance importations of good and services. In recent years, and with new rigor after 2011, different kinds of free trade agreements (FTAs) are discussed in the region. At the forefront stand the efforts of the European Union to upgrade Association Agreements with into Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (DCFTAs), mainly with Morocco and Tunisia. Similar discussions and reviews of existing agreements take place in Egypt and Jordan. In North Africa, discussions also focus on the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) proposed by the African Union. Civil society and trade unions in these countries should formulate their interests and demands in relation to social justice.

While trade is necessary for economic development and growth, it must be fair and should not disadvantage southern countries. Especially large free trade agreements such as DCFTA can have negative impacts on vulnerable parts of societies. Therefore, such agreements need to be vetted from a social-justice perspective. In this context, both the potential consequences of future agreements and the outcomes of already existing ones need to be studied and discussed. 


Call for Abstracts: Land and property rights in the Middle East’s contemporary conflicts

FES Research Project, September 2018 to March 2019


Social (In)Justice in the MENA Region: Debunking the Myth of Neoliberal Economic Policies

Call for Applications for a Summer School on economic policies. Apply now!


Launching Publication Regional Conference

A new publication by FES is set to shed light on the causes and costs of economic injustices and present feasible alternatives for new economic...


Alternative Economy and employment

The prospects and types of employment in new and emerging sectors of the economy in the MENA were the subject of the expert workshop. The workshop was...



Fiscal reforms caused economic downturn, economists argue

AMMAN — Fiscal reforms implemented 10 years ago were the main cause of the downturn in Jordan’s economy, and similar policies are still being...


Experts say social justice should drive economic policies

AMMAN — Economic policies should strive for social justice and to engage the younger generation in the development process, experts and policy makers...



Department for Middle East and North Africa
FES Berlin
Hiroshimastraße 28
10785 Berlin


About FES 

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung has a network of eleven country offices in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and implements projects in a total of 14 countries. Some offices, such as Egypt or Sudan, look back at a history of more than 40 years of cooperation.

Offices in the Region


Ansatzpunkte einer nationalen Beschäftigungsstrategie für Tunesien

Wirtschaftliche Probleme und soziale Ungerechtigkeiten lösten im Jahr 2011 die Revolution

in Tunesien aus. Seither hat sich viel in Tunesien getan;...