While Moroccan traditional crafts are known around the world for their quality, Moroccan artisans lag behind in exports.
The document, published on Thursday, January 16, is an exhaustive guide on the standards and requirements of American imports. The 102 page-manual explains how Moroccan artisans can best export their products to the US.
The embassy published the guidebook in partnership with the Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) and the US-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI).
The book stresses that “the handicraft sector does not only preserve the rich heritage of Morocco, but also employs about 20% of the country’s workforce, encourages the growth of small and medium enterprises, and encourages regional development in the sector that currently represents 7% of Morocco’s GDP.”
Relations between Morocco and the US are unique, with a focus on trade and tourism, and are expanding to cooperation in the fields of diplomacy and security, says David Greene, Charge d’Affaires at the US Embassy, in the book’s introduction.
Greene emphasized that the sector of handicraft plays an important role in creating job opportunities and reviving regional development.
The US has been working to support Moroccan traditional craftsmen for years through the Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC) programs. Traditional handicrafts are a “rich tradition, dating back centuries,” concludes the American official.
“There is a real desire and clear appreciation for this traditional industry in the US and in other countries, and this appears in the growing demand for products of Moroccan traditional crafts,” stresses the book.
Since the signing of a Free Trade Agreement between Washington DC and Rabat in 2006, the door to the American market was open for Moroccan handicraft products. However, their exports to the US remain weak, according to the embassy.
The guide provides a strategy for Moroccan artisans to export their products and learn about the trends in the American market. It also presents the standards of export contracts and customs requirements in the US.
In Morocco, there are about 2.3 million people who work in the traditional crafts industry. Women make up about 80% of these workers, notes the document, explaining that opening international markets to this industry can create a very important impact on Morocco’s economic development.
The embassy estimates the value of the handicraft market in the world at about $40 billion, with the US representing one of the most important markets. Morocco has the potential to be an important actor in this market, stresses the guide.
The good quality of Moroccan products is not sufficient for them to reach international markets. An appropriate commercial structure to address the various problems encountered during the exports is also crucial, explains the embassy.