WASHINGTON, DC (MACP)- 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%.
The US’s biggest exports to Morocco include petroleum, aerospace and automotive parts, and food products; and the US imports primarily fertilizer, electric machinery, and certain agricultural products from the country. In 2013, the United States Trade Representative ranked Morocco as America’s 69th largest trade partner worldwide.
In recent years, Morocco has successfully positioned itself as a gateway for US 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 ten 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.”
“Morocco has been doing everything right to strengthen and diversify its economy,” said former US Ambassador to Morocco Edward M. Gabriel. “Choosing Morocco as the US’s first FTA beneficiary in Africa was a smart move, and I believe the US will continue benefiting from this strong relationship for years to come.”
The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP)