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U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement Would Benefit U.S. Economic Interests
Date: 11/21/2002

Strengthening Relationship with one of America's Strongest Islamic Allies in War on Terrorism Also Cited

Washington DC – A U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would not only benefit U.S. economic interests, it would also reinforce a relationship with one of America's strongest allies in the war on terrorism in the Muslim world, said Bill Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, in his testimony before the United States Trade Policy Staff Committee.

"At a time when many voices in the Arab and Muslim worlds are calling for boycotts against the United States, Morocco is seeking a closer economic relationship with America," said Reinsch.

The NFTC is a founding member, along with the Business Council for International Understanding, of the U.S.-Morocco FTA Coalition, a diverse group of U.S. corporations and associations supporting a bilateral free trade agreement between the two nations.

"We believe an FTA with Morocco is in the strong interest of the United States. It will lead to the elimination of bilateral tariff and non-tariff barriers, boost bilateral and regional trade flows, and stimulate economic growth and prosperity. Importantly, it will lock in and advance major economic reforms in Morocco, restore competitive advantages lost by U.S. exporters as a result of the EU-Morocco Association Agreement, and demonstrate renewed U.S. trade leadership," said Reinsch.

Tariff elimination under a free trade agreement would give U.S. exporters significant advantages over the EU as well as other competitor suppliers, according to Reinsch. "It will level the playing field and increase market access for U.S. goods and services to Morocco," he noted.

In addition to the telecommunications and tourism sectors, there are likely opportunities for U.S. firms in the energy, transport, financial services, insurance, and environmental and water resources equipment and services sectors. An FTA would provide opportunities to strengthen intellectual property rights protection and support the development of e-commerce. Commodities that would benefit from an FTA include U.S. wheat, feed grains, soybeans and soybean products.

Furthermore, in "strengthening U.S. ties with a major developing country and close ally committed to trade liberalization and economic reform as fundamental tenets of development, a U.S.-Morocco FTA will demonstrate to other developing countries the strategic importance and benefits of achieving a bold agenda of multilateral trade liberalization in the WTO Doha Round negotiations," Reinsch added.
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The agreement would be the first bilateral free trade agreement to be negotiated entirely under the new Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) granted to the President for the first time since 1994.

"A well-organized and rapidly concluded negotiation will send a strong signal to the world that the momentum for trade liberalization in the United States has been regained," Reinsch concluded.