Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Acting EU Representative Mr. John Gatt-Rutter signed today a financing agreement of €11 million supporting the private sector and building the capacity of institutions related to the Economy. In line with the Palestinian National Development Plan 2011-2013 this agreement aims to promote in the West Bank and Gaza a sustainable, job-creating economic growth led by the private-sector.
Namely, through this agreement, the EU will provide financial support to businesses in the agricultural sector located in Area C of the West Bank so they can resume and/or sustain their economic activity. It will also enhance the internal capacities of businesses in Gaza and improve the quality of services provided to them by business service providers.
"For the last couple of years supporting the Palestinian private-sector and facilitating Palestinian trade has been a key policy objective for the EU. We have stood by Palestinian businessmen in the West Bank but also in Gaza and we intend to continue through the activities put in place by today's agreement", said the Acting EU Representative John Gatt-Rutter." Over the course of the next 3,5 years we will build on the important work the PA and the EU have initiated to strengthen Palestinian private enterprises to become more competitive and to widen their market opportunities. This will be backed by strengthening the capacity of the Ministry of National Economy and other relevant institutions in supporting the private sector and formulating trade policies".
This agreement will also reinforce the capacity of the Ministry of National Economy and related institutions to integrate the Palestinian economy into the multilateral trading system (e.g. by proving assistance for the WTO accession, technical assistance to develop internal expertise and capacities to help formulate policies).
To make Palestinian businesses more competitive internationally the programme will enhance the conformity with international technical standards through modernizing the Palestinian Quality Infrastructure. Particular attention will be given to promote an improved public-private sector dialogue and promote the involvement of women in key positions.
This agreement is part of a package of support to the Palestinians initially announced by the European Commission in August 2010. The EU has supported the Palestinian Private Sector through various projects. The PA 'Private-Sector Reconstruction Programme' in Gaza – a first large scale initiative supporting the business community in Gaza launched in 2009 - has been one of EU's key projects supported with € 22.0 million. A € 3 million programme targeting trade diversification has also started in December 2011.The EU has taken concrete actions to open its markets to Palestinian exports under the duty free, quota free agreement (agricultural, fish and fishery products) which is effective as of January 1st 2012.
The Office of the European Union Representative Antonia Zafeiri (02 5415 859, 0548024915) and Shadi Othman (02 541 5867, 0599673958) http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/westbank/