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United States and Morocco Reach Agreement on Trade Facilitation, Joint Investment Principles and Joint Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Principles

12/07/2012

Washington, D.C. – The United States and the Kingdom of Morocco this week announced new agreements that will stimulate significant additional commercial activity between our two countries and within the broader Middle East/North Africa region. The announcements were made on the occasion of the third Joint Committee Meeting under the U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which entered into force on January 1, 2006. Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro and Moroccan Minister of Industry, Trade and New Technologies Abdelkader Amara opened the meeting on December 5, which focused on the significant increases in bilateral trade and investment – an increase of over 300 percent in goods trade since the FTA’s entry into force.

Morocco is currently the United States’ 55th largest goods trading partner with two-way goods trade totaling $3.8 billion in 2011. U.S. goods exports to Morocco totaled $2.8 billion in 2011 and U.S. goods imports from Morocco totaled $1 billion. U.S. foreign direct investment in Morocco was $350 million in 2011.

"Morocco is a key strategic bilateral trade and investment partner to the United States and plays a pivotal role in the Obama Administration's trade and investment partnership initiative with the Middle East and North Africa," said United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk. “These agreements will be key in advancing our countries’ common agenda for jobs and economic growth."

Prior to the Joint Committee meeting, Ambassador Sapiro and Minister Amara initialed a trade facilitation agreement, which expands upon the commitments in our Free Trade Agreement to set a new standard for transparency and predictability in customs matters that will make it easier for companies, large and small, to bring products into both markets. The text includes new commitments reflecting innovations and practices developed since the FTA was signed in 2004, such as allowing the submission of information before goods arrive, and the electronic payment of duties, taxes, and fees to facilitate the prompt release of goods.

The United States and Morocco also reached agreement on a set of Joint Principles for International Investment. Building on ongoing efforts to promote trade and investment, the Principles are a statement of the United States’ and Morocco’s continuing commitment to adopt and maintain a policy environment that enables and encourages international investment, in view of the many economic benefits that such investment produces. They include strong protection for foreign investment, including the right to compensation in the event of a direct or indirect expropriation, consistent with principles of customary international law. The United States and Morocco note that governments can implement these Principles in a manner fully consistent with the pursuit of other legitimate public policy objectives. Click here for a copy of the Investment Principles.

In addition, the two sides endorsed a set of Joint Principles for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Services. Endorsement of these Principles demonstrates both countries’ shared commitment to a sector that is having a transformative effect on the global economy. Adoption of the ICT Principles will support the global development of ICT services, including Internet and other network-based applications that are critical to innovative e-commerce. The Principles address issues such as the free flow of information across borders; facilitating the cross-border supply of services; and foreign investment in ICT sectors. Click here for a copy of the ICT Principles.

All three of these important initiatives are aimed at boosting bilateral and regional trade and investment. Like the FTA itself, the initiatives will facilitate greater business collaboration, and support job growth in both countries.