Due to its political stability, solid infrastructure, and strategic location, Morocco is emerging as a regional manufacturing and export base for international companies. Actively encouraging and facilitating foreign investment, particularly in export sectors, through macro-economic policies, trade liberalization, investment incentives, and structural reforms, Morocco’s overarching economic development plan seeks to leverage its unique status as a multilingual nation with a tri-regional focus (toward Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Europe) to transform the country into a regional hub for shipping, logistics, finance, manufacturing, assembly, and sales. The Government of Morocco has implemented a series of strategies aimed at boosting employment, attracting foreign investment, and raising performance and output in key revenue-earning sectors, such as the automotive and aerospace industries.
An ambitious 2014 strategy set out to create 500,000 new jobs in manufacturing by 2020 by targeting higher levels of FDI and strengthening the linkages between the small business sector and Morocco’s industrial leaders. Morocco has also focused on positioning itself as a financial hub for Africa, and offers incentives for firms that locate their regional headquarters in the Casablanca Finance City (CFC), Morocco’s flagship financial and business hub launched in 2010 by King Mohammed VI. Despite the significant improvements in its business environment, Morocco continues to face challenges posed by its lack of skilled labor, weak intellectual property rights protection, inefficient government bureaucracy, and a challenging regulatory environment.
Morocco has ratified 68 bilateral investment treaties for the promotion and protection of investments and 60 agreements that aim to eliminate the double taxation of income or gains, including with the United States and most EU nations. Its Investment Charter has put in place a convertibility system for foreign investors and gives investors the freedom to transfer profits. Morocco’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States entered into force in 2006, immediately eliminating tariffs on more than 95 percent of qualifying consumer and industrial goods. For a limited number of products, tariffs will be phased out through 2024. Since the U.S.-Morocco FTA came into effect, overall bilateral trade has increased by more than 300 percent, and the United States is now Morocco’s third largest trading partner. 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 Business Development Conference, which provides a platform to strengthen business-to-business ties.