18 August 2015


Israel – Palestine trade

Matthew Brown, for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), briefed that an UNCTAD study launched today looked into ways of assisting the Palestinian people to improve their economic situation. The study reflected on the 2013 World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade Facilitation, and what Israel’s obligations towards Palestine would entail once the Agreement came into force.

The legal study found that Israel, as a WTO Member and also as an occupying power, would have significant obligations towards Palestine to help Palestine. Those obligations would include the creation of efficient and transparent customs procedures, the reduction of document requirements and processing time, and the strengthening of customs and revenue collection by the Palestinian National Authority.

It was hoped that such measures would reduce the extreme poverty, hunger and unemployment that people in the Occupied Palestinian Territories were experiencing, said Mr. Brown, noting that in 2014 unemployment in Gaza reached an unprecedented 44 per cent. The study was being introduced to Palestinian policymakers in Ramallah, Palestine, today, but it could be read online in English and Arabic on the UNCTAD website, noted Mr. Brown.