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Moroccan to end exemption on Turkish textiles products

Morocco’s Ministry of Industry, Investment, Trade and Digital Economy has decided to end the exemption on some Turkish textile products despite the 2006 Free Trade Agreement (FTA), between the Turkey and Morocco. Effective January 9, Morocco’s decision aims to protect the domestic textile industry, facing the rise of Turkish products on the national market in recent years.

Several Turkish brands, including LC Waikiki, Defacto and Koton have decided to expand the national market by opening stores in major cities of the kingdom of Morocco including Casablanca, Rabat, Marrakech, Tangier, Fez and Agadir. This decision is post a study conducted by the Moroccan Association of Textile and Clothing Industries (AMITH) whose aim was to show up some Turkish operators who strategically sold at a loss to flood the national market with their products. In fact, imports of Turkish textile products registered a significant increase of 175 per cent between 2013 and 2017.

The Ministry's decision mainly concerns Article 17 of the FTA on transitional adjustment measures, over a period of one year, to ensure a balance in favour of domestic products. Rakiya Eddarhem, Secretary of State for the Minister of Industry, Investment, Trade and Digital Economy, in charge of foreign trade, said imports of certain Turkish textile products will be increased to 90 per cent under common law. These include man-made filaments, man-made staple fibres, carpets and other textile floor coverings, special fabrics, tufted textile surfaces, lace, tapestries, trimmings, embroidery, knitted fabrics clothing and clothing accessories, knitted or crocheted, articles of apparel and clothing accessories, not knitted or crocheted or made up, made-up articles, second-hand clothes and rags. Eddarhem also disclosed that the national textile sector is the third largest contributor to the Kingdom's gross domestic product (GDP) with a 7 per cent share.

In addition, the FTA makes it clear that tariffs under these measures cannot exceed 25 per cent ad valorem and must retain an element of preference for products originating in the other Party. The total value of imports of products subject to these measures may not exceed 15 per cent of the total value of industrial products imported from the other Party during the last year for which statistics are available. The flooding of the national textile market by Turkish products has contributed to a loss of 20,000 jobs per year over the last five years.