The European Union and Morocco today started the first round of talks for an EU-Morocco Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area.
The aim is to upgrade the existing association agreement, which since 2000 has guaranteed tariff-free trade for numerous products.
Meeting in Rabat, Morocco, negotiators will be starting talks on a deal that is expected to “deepen existing trade relations in a host of areas not yet covered, such as services and public procurement, as well as to bring better protection for investments and new commitments on competition and intellectual property rights,” the EU said in a written statement. Negotiators will also be looking to simplify customs procedures and reduce trade barriers caused by incompatible industrial standards and food safety requirements.
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane officially launched negotiations on March 1, 2013, in Rabat.