“It is impossible” to not review the agreement, Morocco’s trade minister stated.
Elalamy announced the news after talks with the Turkish Trade Minister, Rukhsar Pekcan. Pekcan arrived in Morocco on January 15 with a high-level business delegation to address the deteriorating trade relations between Morocco and Turkey, amid threats from Rabat to walk out of the FTA.
“Morocco and Turkey will review the Free Trade Agreement. [Turkish officials] will work to bring industrial investors and [investors from] other sectors,” Elalamy reassured.
The delegation of businessmen who arrived in Morocco have positive feedback about their past investments in the country, according to the minister.
The official told the press that both countries will now review the provisions of the agreement.
“We will be working on several points in order to reach an agreement. We will meet again by the end of the month to discuss whether we can reach a deal to keep the FTA ongoing,” he said.
Elalamy’s statement, however, contains an implicit threat: If the two countries cannot reach a mutually beneficial solution within the next 15 days, Morocco will have no choice but to walk out of the agreement.
During the meeting, Morocco’s trade minister put in place the country’s decisive laid out the conditions Turkey must meet to save the agreement.
Elalamy made Morocco’s position very clear: “In other countries it take years to reach an agreement. We have only 15 days to decide. This is the only solution for both of us. We cannot escape it.”
Morocco, the minister said, has no need of an FTA that does not benefit Moroccan people, particularly in terms of the job market
Earlier this week, the minister said that Turkish textile exports to Morocco have caused stagnation in the industry.
“Today we have a deficit in the trade balance, so we will review some agreements, but not all of them. We either reach a solution or we end the agreement,” he stipulated.
He renewed his statement at today’s press conference, emphasizing that Morocco is ready to solve the problem with Turkey’s cooperation.
“However, it is necessary for us to defend our interests when the job creation market and Moroccan businessmen are affected,” he warned.
Morocco and Turkey signed the FTA deal in 2004. The agreement took effect in 2006.
“There are possible solutions,” the minister concluded
On January 13, Elalamy told reporters that Morocco loses $2 billion annually due to its trade deal with Turkey.
Morocco’s exports to Turkey are estimated at 23 %, he added.
Moroccan exports to Turkey have dropped by 3.5%, standing at only $690 million. Meanwhile, Turkish exports to Morocco have reached $2.3 billion annually.