WTO urges further trade reforms for Morocco to sustain economic growth
Source: BI-ME , Author: BI-ME staff
Posted: Wed June 24, 2009 6:11 pm

MOROCCO. The economic and trade reforms pursued by Morocco since the WTO's previous Trade Policy Review in 2003 have contributed to the positive overall performance of its economy, including its growing diversification.

With an annual real GDP growth rate of 4.5% on average during the period 2002-2007, and 5.8% in 2008, nonetheless, the economy is beginning to feel the negative impact of the current economic crisis, according to a WTO Secretariat report on the trade policies and practices of Morocco.

The WTO report, along with a policy statement by the government, will be the basis for the Trade Policy Review (TPR) by the Trade Policy Review Body of the World Trade Organization.

Morocco has taken steps to liberalize its economic sectors, in particular key services. It has reduced the level of its average tariff protection by 13.2 percentage points to 20.2%. However, Morocco still imposes some tariffs at rates higher than the bound levels, and maintains a VAT regime that does not respect the principle of national treatment.

The WTO report notes that a taxation reform, including the simplification of the tariff structure through the elimination of variable duties, and a reduction of the number and levels of rates, particularly in the agricultural sector, would help Morocco to fully honour its multilateral commitments and would further simplify its trade regime.

Improved commitments under the GATS would enable Morocco to consolidate its reforms in areas such as tourism and telecommunications, where its commitments fall short of the liberalization efforts already achieved.

The report, along with a policy statement by the government of Morocco, will be the basis for the fourth Trade Policy Review (TPR) of Morocco by the Trade Policy Review Body of the WTO on 24 and 26 June 2009.

Trade Policy Reviews are an exercise, mandated in the WTO agreements, in which member countries’ trade and related policies are examined and evaluated at regular intervals. Significant developments that may have an impact on the global trading system are also monitored. For each review, two documents are prepared: a policy statement by the government of the member under review, and a detailed report written independently by the WTO Secretariat. These two documents are then discussed by the WTO’s full membership in the Trade Policy Review Body (TPRB).

These documents and the proceedings of the TPRB’s meetings are published shortly afterwards.

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