OQR facilitates agreements to boost Palestinian tradeMonday, Feb 27, 2012 in Office of the Quartet Representative
The Government of Netherlands will donate a state-of-the-art gantry cargo scanner to the Palestinian Authority which will be installed for operation at the Allenby crossing. The Dutch are also willing to donate a second scanner, the location of which is still under discussion. The scanners will boost the transit of Palestinian goods in and out of the Palestinian Authority (PA), by reducing transit costs for businesses and increasing the volume and range of goods allowed through the crossings. This significant decision stems from extensive discussions between the OQR, government officials from the Palestinian Authority, Israel, Jordan, and the Netherlands.
The Governments of Israel and Jordan, together with the PA, are expected to enter discussions on technical arrangements regarding the operation of the scanner at Allenby to boost international trade between the PA and the wider region.
Quartet Representative, Tony Blair said: “This agreement is the result of extensive technical discussion between my office, the Palestinian Authority and the Governments of Israel and Jordan, and will have a real impact on the income of local businesses and producers. Over time, I hope this will also allow access to the Israeli and West Bank markets for Gazan products.”
Anticipated outcomes include:
- The range of goods transiting through both crossings can be wider than the current limited range;
- The transit of goods in containers rather than pallets at Allenby Bridge, improved access for exports and imports, and reduced costs, especially on the trade route to Asia;
- Current companies using Allenby estimate this could increase their trade volumes by 30 per cent and further companies may enter the trade;
- A reduction of 30 per cent in shipping costs for goods in transit to or from Asia via the port of Aqaba rather than Ashdod or Haifa.
The Government of Netherlands is engaging in a process to procure the first scanner. OQR anticipates this scanner to be operational within 6-9 months. Meanwhile, discussions will continue concerning the location of the second scanner.
The OQR and the Government of Netherlands will remain fully engaged in follow-up to ensure these arrangements are fully implemented.