BRUSSELS, Sept 27 (KUNA) - The European Parliament voted Tuesday to approve a trade agreement that will help boost the Palestinian economy by enabling the West Bank and Gaza to export farm and fisheries products directly to the EU from early 2012. The agreement between the EU and the Palestinian Authority grants direct duty-free and mostly quota-free access to the European market for agricultural and fisheries products from the West Bank and Gaza Strip and provides access to Palestinian markets for some European produce, said an EP statement. "This agreement offers an opportunity for the Palestinian people, a first step towards the development of a nation", noted EP rapporteur of the agreement Maria Eleni Koppa during the debate. The EP believes believe that opening EU markets directly to Palestinian products, which have up to now been under the direct control of the Israeli customs authorities, will help the Palestinian people expand their economy. The Palestinian Authority is at present the EU's smallest trading partner in the Euro-Mediterranean region and one of the smallest worldwide. Total trade amounted to 56.6 million euro in 2009, of which 50.5 million euro were EU exports. Imports to the EU from the Palestinian Authority amounted to 6.1 million euro in 2009, with agricultural products making up 70.
1 per cent of this total.Imports rose, however, by 32.6 per cent in the first three months of 2010, said the statement.
EU Parliament approves deal to boost trade with Palestine Authority