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Morocco to Review Trade Relations with Turkey

Morocco to Review Trade Relations with Turkey

Wednesday, 15 January, 2020 - 09:30
A woman walks along a street in Fez, Morocco (File photo: Reuters)
Rabat – Latifa Larousni

Morocco’s government intends to review its free trade agreement with Turkey, saying the Moroccan economy has lost $2 billion a year since the signing of the deal in 2004.

Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan will visit Morocco Wednesday alongside a Turkish business delegation to explore new business cooperation opportunities and meet a number of Moroccan ministers and officials.

Moroccan Minister of Industry, Trade and Green, and Digital Economy Moulay Hafid El-Alamy asserted that his country cannot keep the agreement with Turkey in its current form.

He threatened to terminate the agreement if no solutions were found.

Alamy was speaking at a meeting in the House of Representatives during a session on the “outcomes of the free trade agreements.”

The Moroccan minister revealed that he visited Turkey earlier to discuss the deal, and met his Turkish counterpart.

Alami also said Morocco has no problem with any country while stressing the priority to defend the national economy and the jobs that “we made a great effort to provide.”

The minister revealed that Morocco will review 56 free trade agreements, mainly the one signed with Turkey.

He pointed out that exports to the US increased by about 16 percent, to Arab countries by 13 percent, while they rose 12 percent with the UAE, and 23 percent with Turkey.

The Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) said the country is fighting companies that want to oversupply the Moroccan market with products.

The opposition party indicated that Turkish textile products entering Morocco created a huge problem for the industry and affected jobs.

Turkish exports to Morocco grew 16 percent during 2018 to reach $2.3 billion, while the volume of trade exchange between the two countries amounted to $3 billion last year.

Chairman of the Turkish-Moroccan Business Council Mehmet Buyukeksi told Anadolu Agency that Turkish businessmen have invested around $1 billion in Morocco, providing jobs for nearly 8,000 Moroccans.

Trade exchanges between Morocco and Turkey, since the free trade agreement went into effect in 2006, have reached $2.8 billion in 2018, compared to only $684 million in 2016.

Morocco's trade deficit with Turkey increased dramatically, moving from $456 million in 2006 to $1.66 billion in 2018, prompting the calls for reviewing the free trade agreement.

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