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Morocco-US FTA to promote investment in Kingdom, trade advisor

Morocco Times

Morocco-US FTA to promote investment in Kingdom, trade advisor

7 January 2006

Increasing trade exchanges and promoting US investments in Morocco are the main objectives of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed between Morocco and the USA, affirmed trade Advisor at Moroccan embassy in Washington, Mourad El Ayachi.

Entering into force on January 1, the agreement opens "great and real perspectives to promote export of Moroccan industrial, agricultural and fisheries products to the USA", he stressed in an interview with the international radio Voice of America.

Trade exchanges between Morocco and the USA represent only 0.5% of the US exchanges with the world, he said, underlining that FTA will open the US market before Moroccan companies, increase the volume of US investments in Morocco and promote employment.

The US annual exports to Morocco reach USD 475 million in products including aircraft, cereals and machinery, he noted.

The agreement, he said, will contribute to reinforcing the presence of US companies in Morocco, whose number is estimated at 120 with an investment of over USD 600 million.

El Ayachi pointed out that FTA is expected to eliminate tariffs on 95% of bilateral trade in consumer and industrial products, with all remaining tariffs to be eliminated within nine years.

He also noted that FTA is part of the Bush administration strategy to establish a free-trade area in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, recalling that Morocco has already concluded a free trade agreement with Turkey and established a free-trade zone with Tunisia, Jordan and Egypt by virtue of Agadir Agreement.