Morocco, Turkey in Talks for Win-win Trade Deal- Minister

Turkey has accepted to work together with Morocco towards a win-win free trade agreement after Morocco complained about job losses in the textile and retail sectors, trade and industry minister Moulay Hafid Elalamy said.

Turkey agreed after a “heated debate” to review the trade agreement, which costs Morocco 1.2 billion dollars in trade deficit, he told MPs.

The Moroccan minister deplored that Turkish investments in Morocco do not exceed 1% of total investment flow, adding that disagreements between Morocco and Turkey are of a “commercial” nature.

He shed light on job losses in the Textile sector where 19,000 jobs were shed in 2004, 24,000 in 2015 and 44,000 in 2017.

Turkish food retailers have led to the shut down of many Moroccan shops, Elalamy said, noting that Turkish businesses do not sell Moroccan-made products.

He said that he wrote the president of the Turkish supermaket chain operating in Morocco and urged them to sell Moroccan products or otherwise be forced to shutdown.

Morocco may go as far as “scrapping unilaterally” the trade accord if its interests are disregarded, he said.

He also drew a comparison with the free trade agreement with the EU, which amounts to 70billion dirhams but is accompanied by investments with 75% of foreign direct investment coming from Europe.

Morocco exports 60 billion dirhams to Europe and received aid worth 1.4 billion euros between 2014 and 2020, he said.

With the US, Morocco posted a trade deficit worth 20 billion dirhams with US investments in Morocco representing 6% of total FDIs in the country.

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