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Gaza authority levels land for Egypt free trade zone

Aug. 28, 2012 5:57 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 30, 2012 7:44 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- The land authority in Gaza began leveling ground on Tuesday to establish a free trade zone between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, an official said.

"The land authority has submitted 200 acres to the Economy Ministry to establish a trade zone between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, all located west of the Rafah crossing," land authority director Amal Shamali told Ma'an.

"An area of 40 acres will be within the commercial crossing in the area near the Rafah crossing, while 160 acres will be allocated to the free market. Furthermore, the free market is one kilometer wide and two kilometers in length mostly on government land, while small parts are from citizens' land," he added.

Some landowners have reportedly objected to their land being used for the project.

With a free trade zone, Gaza could potentially import and export goods and raw materials through the Egyptian seaport of el-Arish without paying custom duties to Egyptian authorities, IRIN says.

Publicly and in discussions with Egyptian officials, Hamas has been pushing to use the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza for commercial trade.
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