On 1 March 2013 José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, paid an official visit to Morocco. At the end of the round of meetings held with H.M. King Mohammed VI and Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane in Rabat, Mr. Barroso formally announced the launch of negotiations between the EU and Morocco for the conclusion of a so-called Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement or DCFTA (English for “Accord de Libre Échange Complet et Approfondi”).[1]

In his speech in Rabat Mr. Barroso underlined that the EU is Morocco’s main investor and trade partner[2] and assured that the proposed FTA would allow a bigger integration of Moroccan economy within EU’s internal market.

The proposal of a DCFTA between the EU and Morocco is not new. The EU has been longing for an agreement of this kind for a long time[3] in order to upgrade the existing Association Agreement between the parties (as with Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia). On 28 November 2012 the Trade Policy Committee of the Council of the EU had already given green light to this move[4] and now it is time for the negotiating teams to strike a deal.

So far the website of the EU’s Trade Commissioner does not contain any development on this news. Nonetheless, unconfirmed press reports indicate that this DCFTA may include provisions on trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, the protection of investments, public procurement and competition policy.[5] It will be interesting to know whether the EU will in fact push the inclusion of an investment chapter therein. As we recalled yesterday, the EU-Peru FTA that is provisionally applicable as of 1 March 2013 lacks it.

We will follow these negotiations with great attention.



[1] “Déclaration du Président Barroso suite à sa rencontre avec M. Abdelilah Benkirane, Chef du gouvernement du Maroc”, Rabat, 1 March 2013, available at http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-13-177_en.htm (in French).

[3] See EU Trade European Commission, “Overview of FTA and other trade negotiations”, available at http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2006/december/tradoc_118238.pdf (references to Morocco).

[4] “Press Release – Green light for Morocco trade negotiations”, 28 November 2012, available at http://www.cy2012.eu/index.php/en/news/press-release-green-light-for-morocco-trade-negotiations (website of the Cyprus presidency of the Council of the EU in 2012). See also 3203rd Council meeting (Foreign Affairs Trade), Press Release, 29 November 2012, available at http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/133909.pdf.

[5] “Morocco, EU to launch negotiations for comprehensive FTA-EU”, 2 March 2013, available at http://www.art19.ma/en/morocco/economy/item/5125-morocco-eu-to-launch-negotiations-for-comprehensive-fta-eu.html

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