Further trade reforms would improve economic efficiency
This third Trade Policy Review of Morocco has led us to a far better
understanding of Morocco's economic policies, with emphasis on its
trade policies and practices, and of the challenges it faces. Our
dialogue has been comprehensive thanks to the full and open engagement
of Morocco's high-level delegation, led by Minister Mustapha
Mechahouri, the perceptive comments by the discussant, and the active
involvement of many Members. I would like to thank Minister Mechahouri
for the committed approach he has taken to this TPR.
appreciative of Morocco's macroeconomic performance and of the
structural reform it is undertaking; this, by further diversifying the
economy, has helped it to contain the effects of recurrent droughts
and to promote sustainable growth. The dirham has been somewhat
stabilized and inflation kept low. Members commended Morocco on its
active participation in the multilateral trading system and recalled
that the WTO Agreement was concluded in Morocco. They were supportive
of Morocco's initiatives towards regional and bilateral agreements to
expand its trade; they hoped that the regional agreements would
conform to WTO principles and would avoid overlapping and other
difficulties. Members stressed the importance of diversification of
trading partners by Morocco, particularly toward southern countries.
Some Members sought clarification on Morocco's position with respect
to the ongoing multilateral negotiations and encouraged Morocco to
further mainstream trade into its development strategy.
Morocco to simplify its tariff structure, including with a view to
addressing escalation. They also noted with concern that some one
third of Morocco's applied rates exceed bindings and that variable
duties are still used. Some Members also expressed concern about
Morocco's local-content requirements.
information was sought regarding procurement (methods, procedures, and
preferential margins), trade facilitation, rules of origin, import
monopoly, import and export licensing, tariff quotas, and internal
taxation. Members noted that regular notification of trade policy
measures and related legislation to the WTO would improve the
transparency of Morocco's trade regime.
encouraged Morocco to pursue its liberalization reform with a focus on
agriculture, its most protected sector, and to eliminate remaining
quantitative restrictions on exports of skins. Members mentioned that
Morocco would improve its business environment in the services sector
by strengthening its commitments under the GATS. This would
undoubtedly reinforce the predictability of its trade regime; make its
economy more attractive for foreign investment; facilitate
privatization; and consolidate reforms in areas where Morocco's
multilateral commitments are somewhat lagging behind the
liberalization efforts already made. Such an improvement is necessary
in the current international economic context, where a lack of buyers
has forced Morocco to delay privatization, particularly in the areas
of telecommunications and air transport.
was also sought on the following issues:
including subsidies and selective exemptions;
other technical requirements;
capacity-building in agriculture, for small-scale farmers in
(production and processing methods, textiles and clothing,
pharmaceutical products, car industry); and
(tourism, insurance, banking, telecommunications, and transport).
appreciated the interventions by the Moroccan delegation, and look
forward to receiving written replies to the questions.
conclusion, this meeting has given Members a further insight into
Morocco's trade policies and practices, and identified areas where
further reforms could enhance transparency and predictability in its
trade regime. We were all very appreciative of the reforms being
undertaken by Morocco. In this supportive context, Members urged
Morocco to accelerate its trade reforms with a view to improving
efficiency and fully benefiting from its participation in the
multilateral trading system. I would encourage all Members to support
Morocco in its efforts to take up its challenges, guaranteeing market
access for its products and assisting it to improve competitiveness.