U.S. Relations With Morocco

Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs
Fact Sheet
January 20, 2017


More information about Morocco is available on the Morocco Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.

U.S.-MOROCCO RELATIONS

Morocco formally recognized the United States by signing a treaty of peace and friendship in 1786. Full diplomatic relations began in 1905. Morocco entered into the status of a French protectorate from 1912 to 1956, and normal diplomatic relations were resumed after U.S. recognition of Moroccan independence in 1956. The two countries share common concerns and consult closely on regional security and sustainable development. Morocco is a strong partner in counterterrorism efforts, and it works closely with U.S. law enforcement to safeguard both countries’ national security interests.

U.S. Assistance to Morocco

U.S. assistance to Morocco enhances the Government of Morocco’s (GOM) capacity to promote security and prevent acts of terrorism, while addressing core drivers of instability and violent extremism, such as political and social marginalization, especially of youth. Our support has positive impact beyond Morocco’s borders in both the Middle East and Africa, bolstering Morocco’s emergence as a major partner for regional stabilization efforts and participation in the U.S.-led anti-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) coalition and stabilization efforts in Libya, further contributing to U.S. security.

USAID is working with Morocco to advance the country’s initiatives for implementing its peaceful reform agenda: USAID is enhancing the employability of Morocco’s large youth population through a model career development system and by supporting civil society initiatives that address the needs of marginalized youth susceptible to extremist recruitment. A third-party mid-term evaluation conducted in 2016 found that between 2012 and 2016, USAID’s programming for marginalized youth has improved the lives of over 12,000 at-risk youth. USAID also improves learning outcomes in the early grades of primary schools, thus decreasing the likelihood of future dropouts. Lastly, USAID works to expand citizen participation in governance and political party engagement with citizens at the local level through more open structures and improved ability of political parties to implement policies that reflect citizens’ needs.

The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs partners with the national police, the penitentiary administration and the judiciary to support Morocco’s reform agenda in the criminal justice sector. The corrections program is focused on prison management practices through training and technical assistance. The police program is focused on strengthening police capacity and professionalization. The justice sector programming supports the reforms called for in the 2013 Judicial Reform Charter.

The Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program is focused on facilitating the creation, adoption, and implementation of appropriate laws and regulations that comply with United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540, which obligates member States “to adopt legislation to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and their means of delivery, and establish appropriate domestic controls over related materials to prevent their illicit trafficking.” In addition, EXBS provides considerable training assistance to Moroccan law enforcement and border security officials as well as equipment, such as mobile cargo scanners, for Tanger-Med Port.

Since the August 2014 signing of the U.S.-Morocco Framework for Cooperation on Training for Civilian Security Services, Anti-Terrorism Assistance funds support the goal of developing Moroccan expertise in the areas of crisis management, border security, and terrorism investigations to strengthen regional counterterrorism capabilities and to deny space to terrorists and terrorist networks. The framework outlines steps to identify and further develop a cadre of Moroccan training experts, jointly train civilian security and counterterrorism forces in partner countries in the greater Maghreb and Sahel regions, and measure the effectiveness of these trainings.

International Military Education and Training (IMET)-funded Professional Military Education assists Morocco’s military force structure to become more similar to that of the United States, which aids to further develop the interoperability required to meet shared counter-terror and counter-illicit-trafficking objectives. IMET also funds the installation of English language labs, significantly increasing Moroccan capacity and joint U.S.-Morocco efforts via a common operational language. The Moroccan military used Foreign Military Financing to bolster its air force, which conducts much of Morocco’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance in support of counter-terrorism efforts.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation signed a new $450 million compact with the GOM in November 2015. The compact supports two GOM priorities: education and land productivity. The $220 million education for employability project will work to increase access to higher-quality secondary education and workforce development programs. The $170.5 million land productivity project will assist the GOM to develop a sector-wide land governance strategy to help remove institutional blocks to privatization and will also work with the GOM to increase land productivity through investments in rural and industrial land.

The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) program supports direct engagement with Moroccan civil society through Washington-issued grants, local grants to Moroccan civil society organizations (CSO), and exchange programs for Moroccan citizens. MEPI has been active in Morocco and the region for over a decade and has a long history of building civil society capacity, while also enabling CSO partners to support women’s empowerment, youth leadership and volunteerism, increased civic engagement, entrepreneurship, skills training, and small business development.

Bilateral Economic Relations

Morocco seeks to establish itself as a financial and trade hub for its Western trading partners by leveraging its location along the Strait of Gibraltar between Spain and Africa to become a commercial center for shipping, logistics, finance, assembly, and sales for North, West, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Priority sectors for foreign direct investment include textiles, electronic components, automotive, aeronautics, renewable energy, and “off-shoring services.” In 2015, the Moroccan automobile industry surpassed the phosphate industry to become the country’s largest export sector, generating $5.11 billion in revenue. Morocco has also made an ambitious commitment to integrate renewable energy into its energy mix with the goal of having 52 percent of its installed power generation capacity from renewable sources by 2030. While its banking sector remains one of the most liberalized in North Africa, it continues to be highly concentrated, with the six largest banks accounting for roughly 85 percent of the sector’s assets.

In 2006, Morocco entered into a free-trade agreement (FTA) with the United States. Since its entry into force, Moroccan exports to the United States have more than doubled, and U.S. exports to Morocco have more than tripled. From 2005 to 2015, the total value of Moroccan goods exported to the United States increased from $445.8 million to $1 billion, and U.S. exports to Morocco have increased from $480 million to $1.6 billion. The FTA has paved the way for increased foreign direct investment by helping to improve Morocco’s business climate, harmonize standards, and create legal guarantees for investors. While Morocco has made significant improvements in its business environment, foreign companies still encounter issues related to sluggish bureaucracy and lack of judicial expediency.

Morocco’s Membership in International Organizations

Morocco is a moderate Arab state that maintains close relations with Europe and the United States. It is a member of the United Nations (UN), and from January 2012 to January 2014 it served a two-year term as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Morocco belongs to the Arab League, Arab Maghreb Union, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Non-Aligned Movement, and the Community of Sahel-Saharan States. King Mohammed VI is the chairman of the OIC’s Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Committee. Morocco re-joined the African Union (formerly the Organization of African Unity) in January 2017 after 33 years’ absence. Morocco is a party to the dispute over the Western Sahara in the UN. After Spain withdrew from its former colony there in the 1970s, Morocco claimed sovereignty over the region. A ceasefire between Morocco and the independence-seeking Polisario Front has been monitored since 1991 by a UN peacekeeping operation, the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara. Since 1997, the UN has had a Personal Envoy of the Secretary General for the Western Sahara.

Bilateral Representation

The Charge d’Affaires ad interim of the U.S. Embassy in Morocco is Stephanie Miley; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List.

Morocco maintains an embassy in the United States at 1601 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20009; tel. 202-462-7979.

More information about Morocco is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

Department of State Morocco Country Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Morocco Page
U.S. Embassy
History of U.S. Relations With Morocco
Human Rights Report
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
Country Commercial Guide
U.S. Trade Representative
U.S. – Morocco Free Trade Agreement
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
USAID Morocco Page
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Country Page
Millennium Challenge Corporation: Morocco
USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Page
Foreign Assistance Dashboard
Department of Labor – Child Labor Reports
Peace Corps
Travel Information