Morocco enjoys political stability, robust infrastructure, and a strategic location, which are helping it emerge as a regional manufacturing and export base for international companies. Morocco is 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 business hub. 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 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and strengthening the linkages between the small business sector and Morocco’s industrial leaders. Between 2008 and 2016, FDI in Morocco rose by an annual average of 4.4 percent. To strengthen its position as a financial hub for Africa, Morocco 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. Its successful return to the African Union in January 2017 and the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) in March 2018 also nets Morocco further opportunities to promote foreign investment and trade and accelerate economic development. Despite the significant improvements in its business environment, the lack of skilled labor, weak intellectual property rights protection, inefficient government bureaucracy, and the slow pace of regulatory reform remain challenges for Morocco.
Morocco has ratified 68 bilateral investment treaties for the promotion and protection of investments and 60 economic 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 dirham 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 2030. Since the U.S.-Morocco FTA came into effect, overall bilateral trade has increased by more than 300 percent, making the United States Morocco’s fourth 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 Trade and Investment Forum, which provides a platform to strengthen business-to-business ties.