CMI Letter #13, December 2011

Deauville Partnership Trade and Foreign Direct Investment Report: Informal Consultations to Build an Enriching Preparation Process

On November 28, 2011, the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI) organized an informal consultative meeting related to Trade and Foreign Direct Investment to seek inputs from regional economic experts for the analytical report that the CMI has been tasked to coordinate by the G8 Deauville Partnership.

Two weeks ago, the CMI held a consultative meeting on the Deauville Partnership Trade and Foreign Direct Investment Report. This meeting was attended by some twenty economists from independent regional institutions, the World Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, the EIB and other partner institutions. The meeting profited from attendance by the CMI Oversight Committee members, Alain Bifani and Mohammed Chafiki, from the ministries of finance of Lebanon and Morocco, respectively. It was also attended by the outgoing and incoming chairs of the G8 Deauville Partnership, France and US, represented by Raphael Bello and Bill Schall, from the respective Treasuries.

This meeting was convened in response to the request made to the CMI by the G8 Deauville Partnership Ministers of Finance on September 10, 2011 to coordinate an analytical report on trade and investment, drawing on the expertise of the World Bank and in partnership with the Islamic Development Bank.

The primary objective of the meeting was to discuss the scope and methodology of the report which will bring together analysis with a set of actionable recommendations. The rich debate resulted in a pragmatic agreement: the report should not only be technical but also visionary and include both regional and national dimensions, with both short-term and long-term perspectives. Trade is not an end in itself but should be considered as a means towards job creation, better governance, and greater social cohesion in the region. Moreover, recognizing the overall political context of the report, necessary reforms need to be put in place in both the Southern and the Northern rim of the Mediterranean.

Another objective was to define the timing and the format of consultations to be held with Deauville Partnership countries. Consultation with Southern countries, involving governments to ensure their ownership of the report, will be organized in early 2012, once a first draft is ready, so as to present a set of concrete proposals, with the CMI offering a platform for discussion.

This consultation also provided an opportunity to constitute the Advisory Committee for this work, composed of about 20 economists and policy experts, including specifically experts from the Southern countries of the Mediterranean, who would guide the main drafters of the report - Jean-Pierre Chauffour and Khalid Sekkat - and bring in concrete inputs and country perspectives.

Taking the G8 inter-governmental process into account, the timeline of the report was defined. The first full draft of the report is expected to be ready by the end of February 2012 so that inter-governmental consultations can be held throughout March in order to present the final report at the G8 Ministers of Finance Meeting in the United States in April 2012.

The CMI is fully committed in this interactive and enriching process. Through this work, the G8 Deauville Partnership countries have placed great stock on the creation of a renewed and more balanced model of partnership between both the rims of the Mediterranean.