Morocco and US free trade deal rakes in US$2.3 billion

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Trade between Morocco and US hit US$2.3 billion in 2007 from US$1.4 billions in 2006, a local newspaper the Economist reported on Wednesday.

The increase is basically due to a surge in the volume of export from Morocco that almost tripled between 2005 and 2007, the financial and business journal quoted the Moroccan minister of external trade, Abdellatif Maazouz, as saying.

He said there was need for direct maritime link between the port of Tanger in northern Morocco and the eastern coast of America.

Rabat and Washington signed an agreement on free trade on 2 March 2004 in Washington that became effective on 1 January 2006.

Under the agreement, customs duties on 95 per cent of the products have been cancelled, and the remaining products would be considered in the same manner in nine years.

For a limited number of products it will be 15 years starting from the date of implementation of the agreement.

Furthermore, the agreement offers access to services, copyright protection, legal backing for security and guaranty for American investors, open procedures and transparency measures for moral standards as well as competition in public markets and the job and environment protection.

The free trade agreement between Morocco and USA is the first Washington has signed with an African country and the second with an Arab country after Jordan. Panapress .

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