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February 21, 2012

Morocco, EU trade deal will reduce tariffs on agricultural products

A new deal between Morocco and the European Union will make trade in a variety of agricultural and food products between the two duty-free.

In the next ten years, 70 percent of EU agricultural exports will be allowed duty-free entry into Morocco. Wheat is one of the commodities named in Press reports as an exception to which Morocco will be allowed to impose approved import duties.

The agreement also involves the immediate lifting of present EU duties on 55% of goods imported from Morocco.

Some ‘sensitive products’ will still have limits on their amounts that can enter the EU market, to protect European producers and prevent flooding the market. Among them are cucumbers, garlic, tomatoes and strawberries. Unprocessed fruits and vegetables make up 80% of Moroccan exports into the EU.

The deal has its critics. Western Sahara, a province of Morocco, seeking to break away, is included in the deal, which some say will make find a solution to the long-running, sometimes violent conflict more difficult. Some large scale local and foreign agribusiness concerns operate there despite the objections of some of the region’s residents. Other fears are the potentially harmful effects of the partial free trade deal on small scale farmers in both the EU and in Morocco.

African Agriculture

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