Free Trade Agreements
Yemen has entered into major trade agreements with Saudi Arabia and has applied for World Trade Organization (WTO) accession. Provisions of the 1934 Taif Treaty with Saudi Arabia call for establishment of open markets, a single customs system for both countries, reciprocal most favored nation trading status, and unimpeded transit rights through both nations. The treaty was reaffirmed in the June 2000 Saudi-Yemeni border treaty, also called the “Jeddah Treaty.” Yemen is also a founding member of the Indian Ocean Rim Association, has applied for membership in the British Commonwealth, and was granted observer status at the WTO in 1999. In 2000, the General Council of the WTO accepted Yemen’s application for accession. Yemen presented a memorandum of foreign trade regime to the WTO in 2002 and had its first working party meeting in November, 2004. In 2005, Yemen's request to join the WTO discussion was considered and a delegation from the Ministry of Industry and Trade attended its first meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. Discussions and negotiations between WTO and Yemen is ongoing but Yemen still has a considerable ground to cover in order to comply with WTO standards. A Yemeni delegation will visit Washington DC to discuss WTO issues in late February 2008.
The Yemeni government passed a Free Trade Zone Law (Law 4 of 1993) and designated 170 square kilometers of land in Aden as the country’s first free trade zone.