Green light for Morocco free trade negotiations

EU Ministers have welcomed the imminent launch of negotiations on a "deep and comprehensive" free trade area with Morocco.
During a meeting of the foreign affairs trade council in Brussels yesterday, ministers assessed moves towards the launch of free trade negotiations with Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. They were informed by the Commission on progress in "scoping" exercises aimed at defining the scope and level of ambition of possible "deep and comprehensive" free trade areas with the four countries.
On 14 November, the Commission announced the successful completion of the scoping exercise for Morocco, and on 23 November the Trade Policy Committee supported the Commission's view that Morocco is able and ready to negotiate a "deep and comprehensive" free trade area.
Meanwhile, the process with Tunisia is still underway, and at least one more bilateral meeting will be needed to complete technical work. At this point in time, preparatory work continues with Jordan and Egypt.
In response to the events of the Arab Spring, the European Council in March 2011 asked the Commission to present proposals on how to further enhance trade and foreign direct investment in the southern Mediterranean, in the short, medium and long term.
In December 2011, the Council authorised the opening of negotiations and adopted negotiating directives for "deep and comprehensive" free trade areas with Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia.
Negotiations would set out to upgrade existing Euro-Mediterranean association agreements with Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia in order to substantially enhance market access, improve the investment climate and support economic reforms there, taking into account the particular circumstances of each partner country.
Last week, the Trade Policy Committee of the Council, under the Cyprus Presidency, gave the green light for launching negotiations for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) with the country.
The support from the Committee follows the successful completion of a so-called “scoping exercise” for Morocco, aimed at defining the scope and level of ambition of future free trade areas. The Trade Policy Committee is a high-level committee, which is appointed by the Council, with the purpose of consulting the Commission in negotiating agreements with third countries or international organisations. (EU Neighbourhood Info)
Read more
Council Conclusions
Cyprus Presidency press release
Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU - website
EU Neighbourhood Info Centre – Morocco

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