Qatar and Morocco have concluded the second round of talks on free trade agreement (FTA), a move that is expected to further accelerate trade growth by encouraging co-operation between businesses in both the countries.
Qatar’s representatives at the negotiations were headed by Saleh Abdullah al-Mana, Director of the Department of International Co-operation and Trade Agreements at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, while the Moroccan side was headed by Abdelouahed Rahal, Director General of Trade at the Morocco’s Ministry of Industry and Trade.
The second round of negotiations, which was held in Doha on January 22 to 23 at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry's headquarters, was built on the first round of talks in the Moroccan capital Rabat.
Through the FTA, both the countries aim to increase the flow of trade and services so as to bring about greater economic integration between them. The trade volume between the two countries, which already have bilateral agreement on customs co-operation, reportedly more than doubled to $207mn between 2017 and 2021.
The convening parties discussed ways to consolidate their comprehensive economic partnership and enhance trade and investment relations between the two countries, in order to serve their common interests.
The FTA contributes to increasing the volume of investments, increasing exports of both sides, organising competition, facilitating the free flow of goods and services, and settling trade transactions.
Both Qatar and Morocco have expressed interest in boosting bilateral co-operation in different fields ranging from trade to cybersecurity.
In September 2022, Morocco and Qatar inked a joint declaration on the exchange of information relating to the 2022 World Cup.
The FTAs seek a reduction or removal of tariffs and non-tariff barriers including tariffs, taxes, subsidies and regulations.
The reduction in trade impediments implies that FTAs provide a faster and more effective market access to signatory countries.
Various studies have shown that once an FTA has been signed, the level of trade with the signatory countries tends to increase.
Qatar has an FTA signed with Gulf Co-operation Council, which came into force on January 1, 2003 and Doha is also signatory Greater Arab Free Trade Area, which came into force on January 1, 1997.
Doha is also part of the GCC-European Free Trade Area, which came into force on July 1, 2015; and GCC-Singapore Free Trade Area, which came into force on January 1, 2015.
Finding that international co-operation is key to global growth; Qatar has, over the past ten years, signed bilateral trade agreements with major global economies, including China, France, India, and South Korea.
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