Morocco, Qatar conclude first round of talks on free trade agreement
Morocco World News | 14th November 2022
By Souad Anouar
Rabat - Morocco and Qatar have concluded the first round of negotiations on the free trade agreement (FTA) in Rabat.
During the meeting, representatives of both countries highlighted the importance of the FTA, stressing its role in strengthening bilateral relations and serving the mutual interests of Rabat and Doha.
The meeting also discussed prospects for strengthening cooperation on trade in goods and services, investments, competition, dispute settlement, and protection of intellectual property.
The bilateral gathering concluded with the signing of the meeting’s minutes.
The second round of negotiations is expected to take place in Doha. Details on the meetings are yet to be unveiled.
However, the negotiations are likely to be headed by the same members of the Moroccan and Qatari committees who participated in the first round.
The Rabat meeting was led by the Director of the International Cooperation and Trade Agreements Department at Qatar’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry Saleh Abdullah Al Mana and the Director General of Trade at Morocco’s Ministry of Industry and Trade Abdelouahed Rahal.
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Rabat and Doha have repeatedly expressed interest in boosting bilateral cooperation in different fields ranging from trade to cybersecurity.
This year, Morocco supported Qatar in the organization of the World Cup by sending volunteers and cybersecurity experts to the country ahead of the football event. The two countries also signed an information-sharing agreement in September to facilitate the organization of the competition.
In addition to security cooperation, Morocco and Qatar have been working on fostering economic ties by removing trade barriers and increasing trade volumes.
Between 2017 and 2021, the trade volume between the two countries increased by 130% reaching $207 million, up from $90 million.
The FTA deal is expected to further accelerate this growth by encouraging cooperation between businesses in both countries.
In 2016, Qatar was the fifth largest foreign investor in Morocco, according to Morocco’s exchange office. Today, Qatar is also home to 80 Moroccan companies operating in the hospitality, trade, fashion, and contracting sectors.