Morocco, Tunisia sign several cooperation accords
Morocco-Tunisia, Economics, 9/21/1999
Morocco and Tunisia signed here on Monday several accords meant to enhance bilateral cooperation in matters of trade exchanges, information technologies, nuclear research, handicraft, maritime fisheries, and cultural exchanges.
The accords were signed at the end of the 7th session of the Moroccan-Tunisian high joint commission held in Rabat under the co-chairmanship of the two countries prime ministers, Abderrahmane Youssoufi and Hamed Karoui.
At a joint news conference here Monday evening, the two prime ministers voiced shared determination to promote bilateral cooperation and trade exchanges, especially after the enforcement of the free trade accord, concluded by the two countries last March, on the sidelines of the official visit Tunisia's President Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali paid to Morocco.
The accord provides for the suppression, with immediate effect, of all duties on some 2,000 nonagricultural products carrying below 10 % customs duty.
Karoui said 90 % of products exchanged between the two states are now duty-free and that the target to boost by year 2000 trade exchanges to $ 200 million per year was within reach. Moroccan-Tunisian trade was worth $ 103 million in 1998 against 90 million in 1997.
Morocco and Tunisia-- which are both bound to the European Union by separate association accords that provide, inter alia, for the creation of free exchange areas by year 2010-- decided to strengthen their consultation and to coordinate stands in the coming negotiations with the European Union, the prime ministers said.
The two sides are to hold negotiations with the Union shortly on the marketing of their agricultural products in the union member countries.
The council of Moroccan-Tunisian businessmen, which held its third meeting on the fringes of the joint high commission 7th session, underlined the need to explore all opportunities and potentials and to join efforts to integrate the two states' economies in the globalization process.
The council called on economic operators to seek new cooperation prospects and investment opportunities and to grant a special interest to social development.
Part of the session of the joint high commission, several sectorial meetings were held between the two countries ministers of the interior, high education, scientific research, maritime fisheries and information technologies.
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