Morocco deplores Arab 'non-Commitment' to Free Trade Zone
Morocco-Regional, Economics, 5/7/2004
Moroccan Foreign Trade Minister, Mustapha Mechahouri, deplored Wednesday, that Morocco's efforts to honor its commitments vis-a-vis the Arab Free Trade Zone were not accompanied by similar efforts from some Arab states member of this zone.
Speaking at the weekly question-time at the House of Representatives, about trade agreements between Morocco and some Arab states, the minister asserted that these agreements had a negative impact on trade exchanges between the kingdom and these countries. He noted that Moroccan imports from the Arab states have been multiplied by five while its exports to the Arab world merely doubled during the first five years of the entering into force of the agreement on the Free Trade Zone.
Mechahouri laid the blame on non-tariff barriers such as administrative and legislative restrictions practised by some states, contrary to their commitments.
All these factors, he said, pushed Morocco to adopt the necessary measures to protect the "sensitive" sectors in the Moroccan economy. He pointed out, however, that the request for tariff exemption submitted by importers is accepted without distinction concerning the products that are not likely to have a negative impact on the national economy.
The Minister added that there is no way to compare the progressive tariffs reduction regarding sensitive sectors part of exchanges between Arab states, with that implemented within the framework of Free Trade Agreements concluded with the European Union, the United States and Turkey.
The progressive dismantling of tariff barriers part of these agreements, he explained, will be operated on a long period (ten years or more) which would enable Moroccan companies to adapt to the new situation.
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