Palestinian-US Economic Talks to be Held in Ramallah

Ramallah, 14 Sya’ban 1437/22 May 2016 (MINA) – Palestinian-American economic talks are set to take place on Sunday in the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, to be headed by Palestinian Economy Minister Abeer Odeh and US Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles Rivkin, towards developing the Palestinian economy in various sectors.

Odeh said in a statement Saturday that the Paris Protocol would be among the topics to be discussed, in addition to several other points related to developing economic and commercial relations with the United States, Ma’an reported, as quoted by Mi’raj islamic News Agency (MINA).

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A report released in April by the World Bank found that the Palestinian Authority is losing up to $285 million a year under its current economic arrangements with Israel.

The current revenue sharing arrangements as outlined by the Paris Protocol — through which Israel collects VAT, import taxes, and other revenues on behalf of the PA — “have not been systematically implemented,” the World Bank said.

Tax leakages on bilateral trade with Israel and undervaluation of Palestinian imports from third countries accounted for the multi-million dollar losses in revenue, according to the report.

The report also noted the poor state of the Palestinian economy and the need “to stimulate growth in an economy that is not growing enough to raise living standards or reduce high unemployment.”

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According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the average unemployment rate in the occupied Palestinian territory was 26 percent in 2015: in the occupied West Bank, unemployment stood at 17 percent, compared to a staggering 41 percent in the besieged Gaza Strip, (T/R07/R01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)