Government spokesman deplores false ideas about free-trade agreement with USA
30 January 2004
Morocco’s communication minister, Nabil Benabdellah, deplored on Thursday the "false ideas being circulated" about the free-trade agreement (FTA) that Morocco is currently negotiating with the USA.
Asked about a demo by a group of artists, cultural figures and human rights militants to protest "repercussions" of the FTA, Benabdellah, who is also spokesman of the government, told reporters after the government weekly meeting the agreement should not be a source of concern and its (negative) effects on Morocco should not be exaggerated.
He went that the Moroccan negotiators are keen on protecting Morocco’s rights and interests.
The protests are expressed by a small minority of persons, said Benabdellah who also recalled that the government is conducting regular consultations on the FTA with various interested sectors. As these sectors become more organized, consultations will become easier, he insisted, stressing that the Moroccan negotiators team has not given in an iota of national interests.
Regarding fears about the Moroccan audio-visual and cultural sector, he explained that the Moroccan negotiators have made it clear that subsidies to national production will be maintained and provisions on the encouragement and protection of audio-visual production stipulated in the draft law on the audio-visual sector will be applied. He also explained that as far as pharmaceutical industry is concerned, the problem concerns production that does not abide by the standards of copyright and that it is impossible to defend some points that run counter to international agreements.
Meanwhile, he went on, there are no protest from the agriculture sector which is well-organized.