Libya agrees in principle to setting up free-trade area with Morocco
Libya-Morocco, Economics, 1/17/2001
Libya has agreed in principle to the setting up of a free-trade area with Morocco, said secretary (minister) of the Libyan general popular committee of African unity, Abdesslam Triki.
Triki made the statement at one of the meetings between Moroccan and libyan officials, on the sidelines of the official visit King Mohammed VI is paying to Libya January 15-17 at the invitation of Libyan Leader Mouammar khaddafi.
Triki who underlined that bilateral relations are excellent but do not match expectations said Libya agreed in principle to the setting up of a free-trade area between Rabat and Tripoli, as a move to enhance these relations.
Triki underlined the positive impact that the royal visit, described as "historic," will have at the level of relations between the two countries as well as at the Maghreban, Arab and African levels.
Triki renewed on the occasion his country's determination to reactivate the Arab Maghreb Union (UMA, grouping besides Libya and Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and Tunisia) and said Morocco is "important and essential" at the African level.
The Moroccan and Libyan officials have all voiced determination to enhance bilateral cooperation and lower down the obstacles hampering trade flows. A special commission will be set up in each country to look into pending dossiers.
Partnership opportunities in the financial, technical, commercial and industrial realms were probed and the Libyan side proposed the participation of Libyan experts and companies in oil prospecting in Morocco.
In another development, Libyan official sources told MAP special envoys that Moroccan economic operators should seize the huge investment opportunities offered by the Libyan market and materialize them in the frame of an efficient and constructive partnership.
"The ball is in the Moroccans' court. They must seize, through realistic initiatives, opportunities in the Libyan market and raise partnership to the level of the excellent relations existing between the two countries at the political scale,."
The Libyan sources said the consolidation of partnership between the two countries would enhance the sectors of production and export, enable to hire Moroccan labor and benefit from the regional environment where countries of the Maghreb and Africa form a huge market.
A memorandum of understanding signed last November during the meeting of the high joint commission stipulates that Morocco shall import $ 200 million worth of Libyan oil and exports $ 200 million-worth of agri-food and industrial products, textile and leather items and construction material.
The commission also signed at its November session an agreement on the protection and encouragement of investments. Libyan investments in Morocco currently exceed $ 300 million. They are injected in the sectors of tourism, industry and trade.
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