Morocco’s trade minister rants against west’s trade protectionism

Morocco’s trade minister rants against west’s trade protectionism

The West has for long advocated free trade, but as globalization wanes serious trade protectionist measures are implemented in the EU in particular, targeting industrial goods from Morocco and other developing nations, trade minister Ryad Mezzour said.

Mezzour, was speaking to an international conference in Dakhla, when he deplored the recent measures by Italy to block the entry of a shipment of 134 electric cars made in Morocco.

Italy argues that the cars had Italian flags that could wrongfully indicate they were made in Italy. The argument did not convince Moroccan officials who decry a protectionist measure.

Stellantis had issued a statement explaining that “made in Morocco” is well indicated in the car and that the Italian flag was meant to show the origin of the brand.

The incident “is full of lessons that we should keep for the future. First among which is that the strong sets the rules. We should not depend on others and we have to work to reinforce our trade with African countries,” said the minister at the conference on the Atlantic initiative launched by Morocco’s King to bolster regional integration.

Europe and the West which have advocated globalization are now sealing their markets as developing nations like Morocco start to export high value goods, he said.

Morocco needs to keep fostering ties with African partners, with whom it has launched major projects like the gas pipeline with Nigeria, he said.

Morocco’s agricultural goods have also suffered from protectionist moves that verges on vandalism as trucks carrying Moroccan tomatoes have been attacked by angry French farmers last week.

The EU farmers, in contrast, want to export to Morocco but they resent seeing competitive Moroccan tomatoes in their local markets, in a contradiction that sums up western thinking about free trade with its southern African neighbors.

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