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Canada-Morocco Free Trade Agreement Negotiations

Additional background information

In 2012, bilateral merchandise trade totalled $522.6 million. Canadian merchandise exports to Morocco totalled $368.5 million in 2012. Canada's top exports to Morocco in 2012 included wheat (mainly durum wheat, which accounted for 57.1% of Canadian exports to Morocco) as well as mineral fuels. Canadian merchandise imports from Morocco totalled $154.1 million in 2012. Top imports included edible fruit (primarily citrus fruit), mineral products (primarily fluorspar and calcium phosphate), woven apparel and fertilizers.

Morocco has an association agreement with the European Union (EU), which took effect in March 2000, providing for the complete dismantling of tariffs by 2012. In March 2004, Morocco signed an FTA with the United States that came into effect on January 1, 2006. Morocco has also concluded FTAs with Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan (these four countries are signatories to the Agadir Declaration), EFTA and Turkey. Morocco is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA).

Benefits for Canadians

An FTA with Morocco has the potential to improve the bilateral trade and investment relationship between our countries and further advance Canada's foreign policy objectives in the region. An FTA with Morocco would be Canada’s first such agreement with an African country, and Morocco could be a gateway to a new Canadian commercial presence in the Mediterranean region and in North Africa. It could also better position Canadian business vis-à-vis competitors in this market, particularly with those who benefit from a preferential trading arrangement with Morocco.

Negotiations

In October 2009, the Government of Canada embarked on a comprehensive consultation process with the Canadian public, provinces and territories, businesses and non-governmental organizations to seek input and to help define the scope of a potential free trade initiative with Morocco. In parallel with these consultations, government officials from both countries took part in two rounds of exploratory discussions; first in January 2009 in Rabat, and then in June 2009 in Ottawa.

Economic analysis, government-to-government exploratory discussions and public consultations with domestic stakeholders revealed broad-based support for a Canada-Morocco Free Trade Agreement and sufficient potential benefits to recommend moving ahead towards negotiation of a comprehensive free trade agreement.

On January 27, 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Prime Minister of Morocco, Abbas El Fassi, announced that the two countries will begin negotiations towards a free trade agreement.

Canada and Morocco concluded a third round of negotiations, which took place from June 18-22, 2012, in Ottawa (see News Release: Canada Welcomes First Round of Free Trade Negotiations with Morocco). The first round of negotiations took place in October 2011, followed by a second round in March 2012. Good progress has been made so far on all aspects of the negotiations, notably in areas related to custom procedures, sanitary and phytosanitary measures and government procurement. Negotiators are in contact to plan next steps.

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