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Dr. Said El Mansour Cherkaoui

Dr. Said El Mansour Cherkaoui and His Global Interactions and Endeavors

Morocco has ratified 71 bilateral investment treaties for the promotion and protection of investments and 60 economic agreements – including with the United States and most EU nations– that aim to eliminate the double taxation of income or gains. 

Morocco is the only country on the African continent with a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States, eliminating tariffs on more than 95 percent of qualifying consumer and industrial goods. The Government of Morocco plans to phase out tariffs for some products through 2030. 

The FTA supports Morocco’s goals to develop as a regional financial and trade hub, providing opportunities for the localization of services and the finishing and re-export of goods to markets in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.  Since the U.S.-Morocco FTA came into effect bilateral trade in goods has grown nearly five-fold.  The U.S. and Moroccan governments work closely to increase trade and investment through high-level consultations, bilateral dialogue, and the annual U.S.-Morocco Trade and Investment Forum, which provides a platform to strengthen business-to-business ties. Source

Morocco is located in Northwestern Africa and is slightly geographically larger than California. The capital of Morocco is Rabat, which is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. Morocco has a population of 34.37 million people and a gross domestic product (GDP) of $100.6 billion. Due to its proximity to Europe along the strategic location as a gateway to Africa, Morocco has created strong trade relationships and promotes an open market economy. In 2015, the US had $304 million in foreign direct investment (FDI) in Morocco.

The United States is the fourth largest importer of Moroccan goods.

In 2016, the US imported roughly $1 billion worth of goods from Morocco. The largest category of imported goods was chemicals, which made up 36.8% or $375 million of the total. Other imports from Morocco included food manufacturers, apparel manufacturing products, and transportation equipment. In the same year, the United States exported $1.86 billion worth of goods to Morocco, which was an increase from the previous year. In the same year, the United States exported $1.86 billion worth of goods to Morocco, which was an increase from the previous year. The main exports to Morocco were transportation equipment (31.6%), agricultural products (15%), and petroleum and coal products (8.7%).

Export data pulled from the International Trade Administration (ITA) shows that average US exports to Morocco have more than tripled since the US-Morocco Free Trade Agreement (FTA) went into effect just over a decade ago. President George W. Bush signed the FTA, the first US free trade agreement with an African country, exactly twelve years ago today; and the agreement went into effect on January 1, 2006.

In the three years before the FTA (2003-2005), US exports to Morocco averaged $482 million; in the past three years (2013-2015), they increased 328 percent to $2.1 billion. At the state level, Texas claims the spot as the top exporter to Morocco, both in 2015 and on average over the past three years, exporting $510 and $710 million worth of goods, respectively.

Other top state exporters when looking at three-year averages include Louisiana, West Virginia, Washington, and California in descending order; considering only 2015, Washington, Louisiana, Virginia and California rounded out the top five following Texas.

When looking at sheer growth in exports since before the FTA, other states emerge as winners. Nevada experienced the biggest boost in exports at a nearly 13,000% increase; Idaho’s exports increased by nearly 11,000%; Montana’s by just over 10,000%; New Mexico by nearly 4,500%; and West Virginia by just under 4,000%.

Value proposition

Read more on the attractiveness of Morocco for Foreign Direct Investment 

Morocco Seen by Banking, Business, and Consulting Firms

In recent years, Morocco has successfully positioned itself as a gateway for U.S. companies to African and European markets, and through aggressive economic reforms has become a top destination for foreign direct investment in Africa. Earlier this year, Morocco was named by the 2016 Bloomberg Innovation Index among the 50 most innovative economies in the world and one of just two such in Africa.

The results echoed the findings of many industry reports of recent years. In 2014, the Wall Street Journal’s Frontiers/FSG Frontier Markets Sentiment Index reported that Morocco is among the top 10 frontier markets – and the only one in the Maghreb – most favored by foreign corporations. KPMG International and Oxford Economics’ 2015 Change Readiness Index (CRI) ranked Morocco as the most “change-ready” country in the Maghreb, with particularly positive results in the category of “enterprise capability.”

The World Bank’s Doing Business 2016 report ranked Morocco first out of 20 MENA countries in terms of “ease of starting a business” and placed it sixth overall in the region for “ease of doing business.”

Here below, you will find presentations on the California – Morocco Trade and the MAFTA – Morocco Free Trade Agreement with the United States including investment opportunities in Morocco.

The interests of Renault in Morocco remain the control of the Moroccan automobile market, the availability of very affordable and relatively well-educated workforce, and the bridge to Europe and the Gateway to Africa and the Middle East that Morocco provides through its strategic geographical location.  Additional benefits can be also the unique opportunities that are offered by the operation of Tangier. Renault is currently the dominant company in the Moroccan automotive market. The Dacia and Renault brands, owned and operated by Renault,  represent respectively 20% and 17% of the market. Renault is already operating a plant in Casablanca and the increased production of this new plant will allow the company to maintain its market share as the Moroccan automotive industry grows.” (Said El Mansour Cherkaoui)

Morocco Tourism Investment Road Show to the U.S.  Calendar WHEN: January 25, 2018 – January 26, 2018 all-day

WHERE: Los Angeles, CA – USA

Treaty with Morocco June 28 and July 15, 1786

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The Moroccan-American friendship up-to-this date [2019] has lasted more than 240 years:
The Barbary Treaties 1786-1816

Dr. Said El Mansour Cherkaoui & CITD  in Berkeley and Oakland, Casablanca [Morocco} and Shanghai, Beijing and Guiyang [China] working to expand California – Morocco trade relations

Dr. Said El Mansour Cherkaoui Promoting Moroccan-US Trade, Business and Cultural Relationships

About Morocco

Our Page on Morocco at Facebook:

The Kingdom of Morocco – a land rich in culture, history, and geographical wonders. Situated in northwestern Africa, it stands as a gateway between Europe and many African countries for tourists as well as investors seeking business opportunities. A predominately Muslim country slightly larger than the state of California, Morocco is home to more than 32,300,000 inhabitants. Morocco’s current ruler, King Mohammed VI, has initiated many positive programs and continues to build the country’s infrastructure paving the way for increased foreign investment and international trade.

In recent years, King Mohammed VI has worked hard to advance the country economically as well as positively improve its international reputation, including leading business and trade initiatives with African and Asian economies.

Moroccan businesspeople are increasingly developing a more international outlook on doing business, opting to expand their opportunities beyond the historically close relations with French business interests.  

There is growing recognition within the Government of Morocco of the importance of English language training.  This is especially encouraged in the growing travel and tourism sector where more often than not English is the second language of travelers from all over the world.

The U.S.-Moroccan Free Trade Agreement (FTA), signed in 2006, made Morocco the first African country to sign such an agreement with the United States. Such action has renewed the privilege that Morocco had to be the first country to recognize the independence of the United States of America. The Moroccan-American friendship this date [2019] has lasted more than 240 years.

The FTA eliminated tariffs on 95 percent of currently traded consumer and industrial goods.  Duties on most remaining qualifying products were phased out in 2016.  The FTA provides enhanced protection for U.S. intellectual property, including trademarks and digital copyrights, expanded protection for patents and product approval information, and tough penalties for piracy and counterfeiting.

There are roughly 150 U.S. firms operating in Morocco. Multinationals such as Fruit of the Loom, Kraft, Kohler, DuPont, Lear, and International Paper, as well as smaller companies, have established their presence in Morocco in order to export to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Significant non-U.S. multinationals

  • Renault-Nissan, Veolia, and Bombardier, also maintain operations in Morocco. 
  • Consumer goods companies such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and Colgate.
  • Pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, MSD, and Sanofi-Adventis manufacture some products locally and import others for onward distribution to North African nations. 
  • Cargill, Danone, and European agro-industrial companies have also invested heavily in the country. 
  • Chevron, Kosmos, and other oil companies are exploring oil off the coast of Morocco, while others pursue new energy opportunities in renewables and Liquified Natural Gas (LNG).
  • The local American Chamber of Commerce has close to 300 members, (about half are Moroccan firms who do business with U.S. firms).

United States Trade with Morocco

The United States-Morocco Free Trade Agreement entered into force on January 1, 2006, eliminating duties on more than 95 percent of all goods and services. In addition to key U.S. export sectors gaining immediate duty-free access to the Moroccan market, the Agreement includes commitments by Morocco for increased regulatory transparency and the protection of intellectual property rights.

Overall trade between the United States and Morocco has increased more than 300 percent, with U.S. exports up more than 350 percent and Moroccan exports to the United States more than doubling.  U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Morocco has quadrupled over the same period, amounting to $613 million in stock investment in 2012. The U.S.-Moroccan economic relationship has grown significantly since the bilateral Free Trade Agreement entered into force in 2006.


  • Morocco was the United States’ 56th largest goods export market and 68th largest goods trading partner with $3.5 billion in total (two-way) goods trade during 2017.
  • Goods exports totaled $2.2 billion; goods imports totaled $1.2 billion, up 14.8% ($287 million) from 2016 and up 71.5% from 2007. U.S. exports to Morocco are up 362% from 2005 (pre-FTA).
  • The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2017 were: mineral fuels ($1.0 billion), cereals (corn) ($179 million), aircraft ($133 million), food waste, animal feed ($119 million), and machinery ($101 million).
  • U.S. total exports of agricultural products to Morocco totaled $397 million in 2017. Leading domestic export categories include corn ($96 million), wheat ($82 million), soybean meal ($62 million), distillers grains ($41 million), and soybean oil ($24 million).
  • U.S. exports of services to Morocco were an estimated $569 million in 2016 9.7% ($61 million) less than 2015.  Leading services exports from the U.S. to Morocco were in the travel, intellectual property (industrial processes), and financial services sectors.

U.S. beef « beef export up » to Morocco

U.S. beef gains new market access in Morocco – 2018 is the first year that U.S. beef & poultry exporters have access to Morocco’s market under the terms of the U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement.


More details on requirements for exporting to Morocco will be available from the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Export Library at:


  • Morocco was the United States’ 71st largest supplier of goods imports in 2017.
  • U.S. goods imports from Morocco totaled $1.2 billion in 2017, up 20.7% ($212 million) from 2016, and up 102.1% from 2007. U.S. imports from Morocco are up 177% from 2005 (pre-FTA). 
  • The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2017 were: fertilizers ($484 million), electrical machinery ($117 million), salt, sulfur, earth, and stone (calcium) ($107 million), woven apparel ($99 million), and edible fruit & nuts (citrus, dried fruit) ($82 million).
  • U.S. total imports of agricultural products from Morocco totaled $155 million in 2017. Leading categories include other fresh fruit ($71 million), processed fruit & vegetables ($43 million), other vegetable oils ($14 million), essential oils ($4 million), and tea, including herbs ($3 million).
  • U.S. imports of services to Morocco were an estimated $625 million in 2016 1.8% ($11 million) more than 2015.  Leading services imports from Morocco to the U.S. were in the travel, transport, telecommunications, computer, and information services sectors.

Trade Balance

  • The U.S. goods trade surplus with Morocco was $987 million in 2017, an 8.3% increase ($75 million) over 2016.
  • The United States has a services trade deficit of an estimated $56 million with Morocco in 2016 (latest data available), down 178% from 2015.


  • U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Morocco (stock) was $412 million in 2017, a 5.1% decrease from 2016. There is no information on the distribution of U.S. FDI in Morocco.
  • No data on Morocco’s FDI in the U.S. are available. There is no information on the distribution of Morocco FDI in the U.S.
  • Sales of services in Morocco by the majority of U.S.-owned affiliates were $152 million in 2015 (latest data available), while sales of services in the United States by the majority of Morocco-owned firms were $27 million. 

U.S.-Morocco Trade Facts in 2016

Trade in services with Morocco totaled an estimated $1.2 billion in 2016 (latest data available). Services exports totaled $569 million; services imports totaled $625 million. The U.S. services trade deficit with Morocco was $56 million in 2016.

U.S. goods and services trade with Morocco totaled an estimated $4.1 billion in 2016 (latest data available). Exports were $2.5 billion; imports were $1.6 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade surplus with Morocco was $856 million in 2016.

According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. exports of goods and services to Morocco supported an estimated 12 thousand jobs in 2015 (latest data available) (8 thousand supported by goods exports and 4 thousand supported by services exports).

Source: Office of US Trade Representative, Washington, DC.

U.S.-Morocco Signed Trade Facilitation Agreement

The agreement, which builds on the United States-Morocco Free Trade Agreement (FTA), includes provisions covering internet publication, transit, transparency with respect to penalties, and other issues that will further boost Morocco’s competitiveness and benefit its trade environment.  Morocco is the first country in the region to conclude a bilateral trade facilitation agreement, as well as to endorse joint principles on investment and information communication technology services trade with the United States. These important initiatives reflect US-Moroccan common commitment to building stronger economic ties with and among the region.

To view a copy of the U.S.-Morocco Trade Facilitation Agreement in English, Continue reading, click here.



Back to the Future: Past Statements on US-Morocco Trade Relations

Retrospective on US-Morocco Free Trade Agreement

Talks with Morocco, for example, have been on-again, off-again since 1995. The pace of negotiations picked up after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as the White House put a great priority on forging closer ties.

In an Aug. 22 statement to Congress, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick said of Morocco, a Muslim country with a population of 30 million, « The administration’s commitment to liberalized trade with (this) leading moderate Arab state supports the regional development of tolerant, open and more-prosperous Muslim societies. »

Zoellick said the proposed trade agreement also would benefit American business by lowering Morocco’s tariffs on U.S. goods from the present 20 percent to 1.7 percent. American agriculture would gain export markets, he said, as would « U.S. service providers, including those in the telecommunications, financial services and energy sectors. »

U.S. exports to Morocco have averaged $475 million annually during the past six years, according to Zoellick’s office.

California, the largest exporting state, shipped $23.3 million in goods to Morocco in 2001, led by machinery and aircraft parts. That was up from $20.9 million in 2000, according to the California Technology, Trade and Commerce Agency.



A closer trading relationship with Morocco could benefit the United States both economically and politically, said Michael Nacht, dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley and a national security adviser to both the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

« Morocco is quite entrepreneurial. It never went to Nasser-style socialism,  » said Nacht, referring to the late Egyptian leader Gamel Nasser. He also said Morocco, generally stable under the late King King Hassan II, who ruled for 37 years, has stayed that way under his son, Mohammed VI, who ascended to the throne in 1999.

« A free-trade agreement with Morocco could be an economic counterpart to a security relationship, » Nacht said.

Congress could vote on a trade pact with Morocco, which foiled a planned terrorist attack on U.S. and British warships at Gibraltar this spring, by early next year, according to the trade representative’s office.

Additional Ressources:

United States International Commission – June 2004

U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement: Potential Economywide and Selected Sectoral Effects – Investigation No. TA–2104-14. United States International Commission – June 2004DOWNLOAD

Historical Perspective on Doing Business in North Saharan Africa by Dr. Said El Mansour Cherkaoui

Historical Perspective on Doing Business in North Saharan Africa by Dr.Said El Mansour Cherkaoui from Said El Mansour Cherkaoui, Ph.D.

The Morocco Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA)

The Morocco Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA) went into effect on January 1, 2006.  Under the agreement most Moroccan goods enter the United States duty free and virtually all will enter free by the time it is fully implemented on January 1, 2023. The Morocco FTA does NOT provide a merchandise processing fee (MPF) exemption.

Morocco Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA)

Information for U.S. Exporters is available through the Department of Commerce at

The Morocco Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA) went into effect on January 1, 2006.  Under the agreement most Moroccan goods enter the United States duty-free and virtually all will enter free by the time it is fully implemented on January 1, 2023. The Morocco FTA does NOT provide a merchandise processing fee (MPF) exemption. To learn more about how to claim preference on these goods, select the following:

This document provides the most relevant information in HTSUS General Notes 27 and 19 CFR Subpart M.

Data Elements for the Morocco FTA Certificate of Origin – Attachment A

This certification can be used by Moroccan producers and exporters, and US importers, when attesting that their goods meet the requirements of the Morocco FTA.

Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) – Morocco FTA General Notes 27 General note, including the General Rules of Origin, Definitions, Value (including Regional Value Content and De Minimis), Sets, Packing and Packaging Materials, Indirect Materials, Record keeping and the all-important Product Specific Rules of Origin NOTE: On the USITC link, select the “General Notes; General rules of Interpretation; General Statistical Notes,” link, followed by “General Notes 27”.

Morocco FTA Quotas The following Morocco FTA goods may be subject to a reduced tariff rate quota (TRQ): beef; dairy; dried onions; dried garlic; peanuts; tomato paste, puree and sauce; tobacco; cotton; fabric and apparel.

Click here for an overview of quota.

Go to the Commodity Graph Report for current fill levels. 

Go to the TPL Threshold to Fill List to see almost closed and closed quotas.

Reconciliation The Reconciliation Prototype is unavailable for post-importation Morocco FTA claims because they are not administered under 19 USC 1520(d) but as Post Entry Amendments (PEAs), Post Summary Corrections (PSCs) or Protests (19 USC 1514, 19 CFR 174).

Additional Resources and Regulations:

Morocco is also pursuing its own opening economic strategy, developing its trade relations with regional economic communities in Africa ..

Trade in Goods with Morocco

U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)


Last published: November 16, 2017 Additional information is available at the US Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration and the Department of Justice in Washington, DC., Marketwired (August 17, 2016) and World Bank, BEA.

Editor: Said El Mansour Cherkaoui, Ph.D.

US Aid to Morocco: Olive and Agricultural Products In 2004, Congress created the Millennium Challenge Corp., a foreign aid agency headed by the secretary of state, to help developing countries reduce poverty. Since its inception, the agency has authorized grants totaling more than $7 billion to help 23 African and Latin American countries. In 2007 the agency agreed to give Morocco $697.5 million over five years to improve the country’s employment rate and salaries by investing in its fruit-tree farms, small-scale fisheries and artisan crafts, according to Millennium. Nearly half of that money – $320 million – is earmarked for the Fruit Tree Productivity Project, with 80 percent of the cash going to olives and the rest to improve date, fig and almond production. Dates, figs and almonds are also key California crops.

Patrick Fine, who oversees such agreements as Millennium’s vice president of compact operations, said he does not believe that the investment in Morocco will harm California producers. The project, he said, is designed to help poor rural families increase their incomes and to help develop a strong ally in an important region in the world.

Dr. Said El Mansour Cherkaoui has organized several trade missions in California, North and Sub Saharan Africa, China, France and Spain.  Similarly, he has contributed in the setting of trade relations within the scope of the US – Morocco Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA).

Dr. Said El Mansour Cherkaoui is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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