The Turkish foreign minister’s visit announcement comes as the future of the Free Trade Agreement between Morocco and Turkey remains uncertain.
Rabat – Ruhsar Pekcan, Turkish Trade Minister is set to visit Morocco on Wednesday, January 15, as part of her African tour. Ankara-Rabat cooperation opportunities will top the minister’s agenda, the Anadolu Agency (AA) announced .
Pekcan will arrive in Rabat accompanied by a high-level Turkish delegation, with the Turkey-Morocco Free Trade Agreement ( FTA) casting a shadow over the visit.
In the last few months of 2019, several news reports announced that Rabat is not satisfied with the Morocco-Turkey and seeks to walk out on the agreement.
Morocco’s business market has been “burdened with all sorts of Turkish products” since the implementation of the trade deal in 2006 trade deal between the two countries, according to reports.
Morocco and Turkey signed the FTA deal in 2004.
In 2019, Minister of Industry Moulay Hafid Elalamy spoke about the challenges last year faced by Morocco due to the FTA with Turkey, arguing that there was a “need for wholesale review of all the trade agreements we have signed in recent years.”
The Anadolu Agency reported that there will be a joint committee meeting on the FTA in Rabat as part of the Trade minister’s visit.
The Turkish official is set to attend several meetings with senior officials, including Minister of Economy Mohamed Benchaaboun, Elalamy, and Minister of Transport Abdelkader Amara.
In September 2019, Turkey announced its determination to strengthen bilateral business cooperation with 17 target countries, including Morocco.
“We have selected 17 target countries — the U.S., Brazil, China, Ethiopia, Morocco, South Africa, South Korea, India, Iraq, the U.K., Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Uzbekistan, Russia and Chile, respectively,” the Turkish minister of trade said on the country’s Export Master Plan.
Ankara seeks to enhance cooperation with the 17 countries while prioritizing machinery, automotive, electrical and electronics, chemical, and food industries.
Statistics shared by the AA news outlet show a 16% increase in Turkish exports to Morocco in 2019.
The exports reached $ 2.3 billion on an annual basis, while imports from Morocco dropped by 3.5% to stand at only $690 million.
Ankara and Rabat will have to discuss means to overcome business challenges for Morocco before taking a final decision on the FTA agreement with Erdogan’s government.
Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Melvykt Cavusoglu is certain that Morocco and Turkey will reach an arrangement regarding the FTA agreement.
During his visit to Morocco in December 2019, the official announced that trade officials would come to Rabat to discuss the situation with Morocco.
He added that he is “sure” that the two countries will reach an understanding regarding the situation.
With the visit of the official around the corner, Morocco added a new tariff on Turkish clothing earlier this month.
With the tariff, Turkish clothing brands have become more expensive for Moroccan customers. The new tariff stands at 27% on textiles from Turkey.