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Morocco’s Benchaaboun Promises Tax Reform to EU Commissioner Moscovici

Moscovici, the man behind the amended Morocco-EU agreement, will visit Rabat soon to “strengthen economic cooperation.”

Rabat – Morocco’s Minister of Economy and Finance Mohamed Benchaaboun, and the EU commissioner for economic and financial affairs, taxation and customs, Pierre Moscovici, discussed Morocco’s efforts to promote good tax governance on Thursday, March 21, in Brussels.

Benchaaboun said in a statement that, in addition to taxation, they discussed other topics of common interest.

Benchaaboun added that the EU Council has taken note of “a positive evolution in Morocco’s commitment to respect the rules of good governance as they are generally practiced for all developed countries.”

He asserted that Morocco will adopt a framework law this year on the “principles of taxation and good tax governance.”

Moscovici welcomed Morocco’s fiscal efforts. “Morocco has done the right thing by modifying tax regimes that could be harmful [to] good tax governance,” he said.

In 2018, the EU added Morocco to its tax haven “grey list” of countries given time to reform their fiscal policies. In March 2019, the union did not move Morocco to its “black list” of tax havens, but gave it until the end of 2019 to enact reforms, citing the progress Morocco achieved in 2018.

As with other countries on the grey list, Morocco has one to two years to reform tax policies.

After his meeting with Benchaaboun, Moscovici wrote a tweet praising “the fruitful cooperation with Morocco on good tax governance. Confident that the commitments made will be maintained!”

The meeting also highlighted the prospects for economic cooperation between the EU and Morocco.

“We have planned missions in the coming weeks to establish the principles of a much closer collaboration than in the past,” said Benchaaboun.

Moscovici said he will soon be going to Rabat “to strengthen our economic cooperation.” He welcomed the “positive results,” citing in particular the EU-Morocco fisheries and agricultural agreements that will come into force “very soon.”

In January, the EU Parliament passed the Moscovici-proposed amendment to the EU-Morocco agriculture agreement that includes Western Sahara. Pro-Polisario groups opposed the deal, saying that Morocco “exploits the natural resources” of Western Sahara.

However, a group of Sahrawis urged the EU to adopt the agreement, citing benefits for the development of the region.

In 2018, according to the EU Commission, Morocco’s trade with the EU was €39 billion. Morocco maintained a 1.2 percent share of EU international trade. The EU imports from Morocco were worth €16 billion and exports €23 billion.