US and Moroccan representatives have discussed agricultural cooperation and furthering their 2004 Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
Rabat – Initiated in June 2004, the Morocco-US FTA entered into force in January 2006. The agreement essentially applies to agriculture and related products.
Gregg Doud, the US trade representative’s chief agricultural negotiator, and Aziz Akhannouch, Morocco’s agriculture and fisheries minister, met in Rabat on Tuesday, November 13, to discuss strengthening bilateral ties in terms of technical and trade cooperation in agriculture.
In a statement highlighting the most important points of the meeting between the two officials, the Moroccan agricultural ministry indicated that the two officials stressed the importance of upholding the “specially strategic” ties binding Rabat and Washington.
The ministry’s statement also underlined that the Akhannouch and Doud meeting came just weeks after Aziz Akhannouch met with Ken Isley, administrator of the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). On October 23, the two officials mentioned the need for both countries to expand exports and agro-science bilateral ties.
The impetus for US-Morocco agricultural cooperation has been reported to derive from a busy agenda for Moroccan agricultural authorities. Akhannouch has launched cooperation campaigns with other partners (Japan, the EU, and China, for example) to materialize Morocco’s 2008-initiated Green Morocco Plan.
Speaking on Tuesday after his meeting with Gregg Doud, Aziz Akhannouch said that the 2018-2019 agricultural season has started off with better prospects than the 2017-2018 season.
In August, Rabat and Washington agreed on the terms for Morocco to import US poultry products.
Robert Lighthizer, the US trade representative, said, “The Trump Administration continues to prioritize the opening of new markets for U.S. agricultural products. This new access to the Moroccan market is an important step in ensuring that American farmers and ranchers can continue to expand their exports.”
Morocco, in the meantime, is hoping to capitalize on the advanced technologies of US agriculture and the technical know-how of American farmers to further Morocco’s competitiveness.
The long-term goal is to expand Morocco’s newfound continental role as an expert exporter in regional and continental markets, the Moroccan ministry suggested.