Rabat - It’s been a busy week for Moroccan parliament members, as the House of Representatives unanimously approved 17 international bilateral and multilateral conventions on the Arab world, Africa, and China this Wednesday.
Rabat – It’s been a busy week for Moroccan parliament members, as the House of Representatives unanimously approved 17 international bilateral and multilateral conventions on the Arab world, Africa, and China this Wednesday.
Four conventions relating to the Arab Free Trade Area (ZALE) have been approved by the House, “looking to set up a free trade zone between Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, and Jordan in an initial stage,” explained Mounia Boucetta, the Secretary of State to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
The first agreement concerns the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) between the member states, which provides for the definition of a database of approved economic actors involved in international trade in order to facilitate customs operations, Boucetta explained.
The second convention relates to mutual administrative cooperation for the facilitation of customs procedures and the strengthening of cooperation and the prevention of customs offenses among the member states, while the third convention deals with a Memorandum of Understanding on facilitating electronic connection and information exchange among member states.
The fourth and last convention concerns an additional protocol to the ZALE agreement on the accession of new countries. The latter aims to define the conditions and commitments applicable to states wishing to accede to the entity, she said.
The agreements signed with African countries “relate to the bilateral conventions concluded between Morocco and certain African countries during royal visits to the continent,” said the secretary of state, noting that these agreements have strong impetus with regards to bilateral relations.
Boucetta also pointed out that the agreements were unique, in that they were signed with African countries which did not have a partnership with Morocco, thus contributing to the establishment of a legal framework for cooperation between them and Morocco.
The subjects of these conventions relate essentially to the fight against tax evasion in the Republics of Ghana and South Sudan, the protection and promotion of investment with the Republics of Zambia and Sudan South, air transport services with the Republic of Zambia, and a general agreement of cooperation with the government of South Sudan.
With regards to the law establishing the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET), the draft of which was approved, Boucetta noted that the conference, in collaboration with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), called on the AU and other economic and regional organizations to ensure accountability for public policy on meteorology and hydrology and their development in Africa.
The AMCOMET is intended to present support and policy guidance to its member states to address the increased challenges and threats of climate change on sustainable development in Africa, and to strengthen regional cooperation in meteorological services, ensuring coordination of member states’ positions in international events on issues of common interest.
The bilateral conventions with China concern the protocol amending the agreement signed between the Moroccan government and the Republic of China to avoid double taxation and tax evasion. Boucetta noted that these conventions, “which crown the Royal Visit to China in 2016, are part of the diversification of Morocco’s strategic partnerships with internationally influential actors who have made significant progress in the field of judicial and military cooperation and extradition.”