Executive Summary

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.

Table 1

Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address
TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 90 of 176 http://www.transparency.org/
World Bank’s Doing

Business Report “Ease of Doing Business”

2017 68 of 190 doingbusiness.org/rankings
Global Innovation Index 2016 72 of 128 https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2015 $304.0 http://www.bea.gov/
World Bank GNI per capita 2015 $3,030 http://data.worldbank.org/

Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment

Morocco actively encourages foreign investment and has sought to facilitate it through macro-economic policies, trade liberalization, structural reforms, investments in infrastructure, and incentives for investors. Law 18-95 of October 1995, constituting the Investment Charter , is the principal Moroccan text governing investment and applies to both domestic and foreign investment (direct and portfolio). In 2014, Morocco launched its Industrial Acceleration Plan, a new approach to industrial development based on establishing efficient “eco-systems” that integrate value chains and supplier relationships between large companies and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Moroccan Agency for Investment Development (AMDI) is Morocco’s primary agency responsible for the development and promotion of investment in Morocco. The Agency’s website aggregates relevant information for interested investors and includes investment maps, procedures for creating a business, production costs, applicable laws and regulations, and general business climate information, among other investment services. Further information about Morocco’s investment laws and procedures is available on the Invest in Morocco  website.

Moroccan legislation governing FDI applies equally to Moroccan and foreign legal entities, with the exception of certain protected sectors.

When Morocco acceded to the OECD Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises in November 2009, Morocco guaranteed national treatment of foreign investors (i.e., according like treatment to both foreign and national investors in like circumstances). The only exception to this national treatment of foreign investors is in those sectors closed to foreign investment (as noted below), which was notified upon accession to the Declaration.

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

Foreign and domestic private entities may establish and own business enterprises, barring some sector restrictions. While the U.S. Mission is not aware of any economy-wide limits on foreign ownership, Morocco places a 49 percent cap on foreign investment in air and maritime transport companies and maritime fisheries. Foreigners are prohibited from owning agricultural land, though they can lease it for up to 99 years. The Moroccan government holds a monopoly on phosphate extraction through the 95 percent state-owned Office Cherifien des Phosphates (OCP). Morocco also has a discretionary right to limit all foreign majority stakes in the capital of large national banks, but does not yet appear to have exercised that right. The Moroccan central bank (Bank Al Maghrib) may use regulatory discretion in issuing authorization for the establishment of domestic and foreign-owned banks. As set forth in the 1995 Investment Charter, there is no requirement for prior approval of FDI, and formalities related to investing in Morocco do not pose a meaningful barrier to investment. The U.S. Mission is not aware of any instances in which investors have been turned away for national security, economic, or other national policy reasons.

Other Investment Policy Reviews

The World Trade Organization (WTO) 2016 Trade Policy Review  (TPR) of Morocco found that the trade reforms implemented since the last TPR in 2009 have contributed to the economy’s continued vigorous growth by stimulating competition on the domestic markets, encouraging innovation, creating new jobs, and contributing to growth diversification. In February 2015, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development published its first country strategy for Morocco , which recognized Morocco’s notable political reforms since 2013, as well as its good economic performance, despite some volatility. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) analyzed investment conditions and opportunities in Morocco in a 2015 implementation report . The report noted that due to investments directed at higher-value added industries, such as the automotive, aeronautics, and agro-processing sectors, Morocco has generated tangible economic and social benefits. As a result of a continuing reform process driven by the creation of the National Committee on Business Environment (CNEA) and the Moroccan Investment Development Agency (AMDI), the majority of recommendations made in the 2008 Investment Policy Review (IPR) have been implemented.

Business Facilitation

In the World Bank’s Doing Business 2017 report, Morocco ranks 68 out of 190 economies worldwide in terms of ease of doing business. In the past five years, Morocco has implemented a number of reforms facilitating business registration such as eliminating the need to file a declaration of business incorporation with the Ministry of Labor, reducing company registration fees, and eliminating minimum capital requirements for limited liability companies. Morocco maintains a business registration website that is accessible through the Regional Investment Center (CRI – Centre Regional d’Investissement ). The business registration process is clear and complete and requires four steps: 1) obtain a “Certificat Negatif” in person or online at www.directinfo.ma , which registers the company name at the CRI; 2) pay stamp duty; 3) file documents with CRI to register with the Ministry of Economy and Finance for patent tax, and with the Tribunal of Commerce for social security and taxation, and 4) make a company stamp. The business owner then receives the “patente,” the fiscal identification, the commercial registration certificate, legal books, and the social security registration (Caisse National de Securite Sociale registration) approximately one week after filing the documents. The business owner may request to be notified by text message when the file is ready.

Foreign companies may utilize the online business registration mechanism. Except for French companies, which are provided an exemption, foreign companies are required to provide an apostilled Arabic translated copy of its articles of association and an extract of the registry of commerce in its country of origin. Moreover, foreign companies must report the incorporation of the subsidiary a posteriori to the Foreign Exchange Board (Office National de Change) to facilitate repatriation of funds abroad (such as profits and dividends). According to the World Bank, the process of registering a business in Morocco takes an average of 10 days (significantly less time than the Middle East and North Africa regional average of 20 days). Including all official fees and fees for legal and professional services, registration costs 9.1 percent of Morocco’s annual per capita income (less than half the region’s average of 25.8 percent). Moreover, Morocco does not require any paid-in minimum capital to be deposited in a bank or with a notary.

Outward Investment

The U.S. Mission is not aware of a formal outward investment promotion agency or any restrictions for domestic investors attempting to invest abroad. However, under the Moroccan investment code, repatriation may only be performed using convertible Moroccan Dirham accounts. Further, Capital controls limit the ability of residents to convert dirham balances into foreign currency or to move funds offshore.

As of March 2017, Morocco has signed bilateral investment treaties (BITs) with the following 68 countries, of which 49 are in force: Argentina (force), Austria (force), Bahrain (force), Benin, Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union (force), Bulgaria (force), Burkina Faso (force), Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China (force), Croatia, Czech Republic (force), Denmark, Dominican Republic (force), Egypt (force), El Salvador (force), Equatorial Guinea, Estonia (force), Finland (force), France (force), Gabon (force), Gambia (force), Germany (force), Greece (force), Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary (force), India (force), Indonesia (force), Iran (force), Iraq, Italy (force), Jordan (force), South Korea (force), Kuwait (force), Lebanon (force), Libya (force), Macedonia (force), Malaysia (force), Mali (force), Mauritania (force), Netherlands (force), Nigeria, Oman (force), Pakistan, Poland (force), Portugal (force), Qatar (force), Romania (force), Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain (force), Sudan (force), Sweden (force), Switzerland (force), Syrian Arab Republic (force), Tunisia (force), Turkey (force), Ukraine (force), United Arab Emirates (force), United Kingdom (force), United States of America (force), Vietnam, Yemen. Morocco’s three most recent BITs, all signed last year, were with Russia (March), Rwanda (October), and Nigeria (December).

The United States and Morocco signed a BIT on July 22, 1985, but its provisions were subsumed by the investment chapter of the U.S.-Morocco FTA, which entered into force January 1, 2006, eliminating some tariffs and reducing others on imports from the United States to Morocco. The BIT’s dispute settlement provisions remained in effect for 10 years after the effective date of the FTA for certain investments and investment disputes which predate the Agreement. On January 1, 2016, the dispute settlement provisions of the Morocco-U.S. BIT Articles VI and VII were suspended in their entirety.

Morocco has also signed a quadrilateral FTA with Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, and Jordan (under the Agadir Agreement), an FTA with Turkey, an FTA with the United Arab Emirates, the Greater Arab Free Trade Area agreement (which eliminates certain tariffs among 15 Middle East and North African countries), and concluded third-round FTA talks with Canada in June 2012 and have since continued negotiations to establish an FTA. The Association Agreement (AA) between the EU and Morocco came into force in 2000, creating a free trade zone in 2012 that liberalized two-way trade in goods. The EU and Morocco developed the AA further through an agreement on trade in agricultural, agro-food, and fisheries products, and a protocol establishing a bilateral dispute settlement mechanism, all of which entered into force in 2012. In 2008, Morocco was the first country in the region to be granted “advanced status” by the EU, which promotes closer economic integration by reducing non-tariff barriers, liberalizing the trade in services, ensuring the protection of investments, and standardizing regulations in several commercial and economic areas.

The United States signed an income tax treaty  with Morocco in 1977. Morocco also has tax agreements with the following countries: Italy, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, Spain, Slovenia, Albania, Saudi Arabia, Estonia, Qatar, Singapore, Serbia, India, Latvia, Lithuania, Ireland, Macedonia, Vietnam, Finland, Croatia, Indonesia, Kuwait, Pakistan, Ukraine, Jordan, Romania, China, Austria, Oman, Syria, Turkey, Malta, Czech Republic, Greece, Malaysia, Lebanon, Bulgaria, Denmark, Switzerland, Netherlands, Bahrain, Libya, the UK and Northern Ireland, Hungary, the UAE, Portugal, South Korea, Russia, Poland, Norway, Canada, Sweden, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Guinea, Gabon, Senegal, Arab Maghreb Union (UMA) countries. Morocco has signed tax agreements that have not been ratified with the following countries: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritius, Sao Tome and Principe. Morocco has initialed tax agreements with the following countries: South Africa, Central African Republic, Congo Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Seychelles, Sudan, and Chad. Morocco is currently negotiating tax agreements with the following countries: D.R.C, Ghana, and Equatorial Guinea. Morocco has invited the following countries to establish a tax agreement: Togo, Benin, Kenya, Niger, and Nigeria.

Transparency of the Regulatory System

Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament and a mixed legal system of civil law based mainly on French law with some influence from Islamic law. Legislative acts are subject to judicial review by the Supreme Court. The Constitutional branch of the Supreme Court has the power to determine the constitutionality of legislation, excluding royal legislation (Dahirs). Legislative power in Morocco is vested in both the government and the two chambers of Parliament, the Chamber of Representatives (Majlis Al-Nuwab) and the Chamber of Councillors (Majlis Al Mustahsareen). The King can also issue royal decrees which have the force of law. The principal sources of commercial legislation in Morocco can be found in the Code of Obligations and Contracts of 1913 and Law No. 15-95 establishing the Commercial Code. The Competition Council and the Central Authority for the Prevention of Corruption have responsibility for improving public governance and advocating for further market liberalization. All levels of regulations exist (local, state, national, supra-national). The most relevant regulations for foreign businesses depend on the sector in question. Ministries develop their own regulations and draft laws, including those related to investment, through their administrative departments and approved by the head of the Ministry. Each regulation and draft law is made available for public comment. Key regulatory actions are published in their entirety in Arabic and sometimes French in the official bulletin on the website  of the General Secretariat of the Government. Once published, the law is final. Public enterprises and establishments can adopt their own specific regulations provided they comply with regulations regarding competition and transparency.

Morocco’s regulatory enforcement mechanisms depend on the sector in question, and enforcement is legally reviewable. The National Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (ANRT), for example, created February 1998 under Law No. 24-96, is the public body responsible for the control and regulation of the telecommunications sector. The Agency regulates telecommunication by participating in the development of the legislative and regulatory framework. Morocco does not have specific regulatory impact assessment guidelines, nor are impact assessments required by law. Morocco does not have a specialized government body tasked with reviewing and monitoring regulatory impact assessments conducted by other individual agencies or government bodies.

The World Banks’s 2017 Doing Business Report indicates that Morocco implemented reforms aimed at reducing regulatory complexity and strengthening legal institutions. These include simplification of property registration, enhanced electronic systems for paying taxes and the processing of documents for imports, improving online procedures, increasing administrative efficiency, introducing registry credit scores as a value-added service, expanding shareholders’ role in company management, and implementing an unemployment insurance plan. In addition, the report indicates that Morocco was among one of the countries to introduce greater requirements for corporate transparency into their laws and regulations to promote detailed disclosure of primary employment, appointments and remuneration of directors, ensure detailed and advance notice of general meetings of shareholders, oblige members of limited liability companies to meet at least once per year and allow shareholders to add items to the meeting agenda. The U.S. Mission is not aware of any informal regulatory processes managed by nongovernmental organizations or private sector associations.

International Regulatory Considerations

European standards are widely referenced in Morocco’s regulatory system. In some cases, U.S. standards are also accepted, such as in the automobile industry. Morocco has been a WTO member since January 1995 and reports technical regulations that could affect trade with other member countries to the WTO.

Legal System and Judicial Independence

The Moroccan legal system is based on both civil law (French system) and Islamic law, regulated by the Code of Obligations and Contracts of 1913 as amended, the 1996 Code of Commerce, and Law No. 53-95 on Commercial Courts. These courts also have sole competence to entertain industrial property disputes, as provided for in Law No. 17-97 on the Protection of Industrial Property, irrespective of the legal status of the parties. According to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s 2015 Morocco Commercial Law Assessment Report , Royal Decree No. 1-97-65 (1997) established commercial court jurisdiction over commercial cases including insolvency. Although this led to some improvement in the handling of commercial disputes, the lack of training for judges on general commercial matters remains a key challenge to effective commercial dispute resolution in the country. In general, litigation procedures are time consuming and resource-intensive, and there is no legal requirement with respect to case publishing. Disputes may be brought before eight Commercial Courts (located in Rabat, Casablanca, Fes, Tangier, Marrakech, Agadir, Oujda and Meknes), and three Commercial Courts of Appeal (located in Casablanca, Fes and Marrakech). There are other specialist courts such as Administrative Courts, Administrative Courts of Appeal, and Commercial Courts of Appeal. The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary under the Ministry of Justice and Liberties and guarantees conditions for a fair trial. The King heads the Supreme Judicial Council, which has authority to hire, dismiss, and promote judges. Enforcement actions are appealable at the Courts of Appeal (Cours d’appel), which hear appeals against decisions from the Court of First Instance.

Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

The principal sources of commercial legislation in Morocco are the 1913 Dahir of Obligations and Contracts, as amended, Law No. 18-95 that established the 1995 Investment Charter, the 1996 Code of Commerce, and Law No. 53-95 on Commercial Courts. These courts have sole competence to hear industrial property disputes, as provided for in Law No. 17-97 on the Protection of Industrial Property, irrespective of the legal status of the parties. Morocco’s CRI or Centre Regional d’Investissement  and AMDI (cited above) provide users with various investment related information on key sectors, provides procedural information, open calls for tenders, and resources for business creation.

Competition and Anti-Trust Laws

Restrictive agreements and practices are regulated by the Competition Law. Morocco’s Competition Law No. 06-99 on Free Pricing and Competition (June 2000) outlines the authority of the Competition Council  as an independent executive body with investigatory powers. Together with the Central Authority for the Prevention of Corruption, the Competition Council is one of the main actors in charge of improving public governance and advocating for further market liberalization. Law No. 20-13, adopted on August 7, 2014, amended the powers of the competition council to bring them in line with the 2011 constitution. The Competition Council is now charged with: 1) making decisions on anti-competition practices and controlling concentrations, with powers of investigation and sanction, 2) providing opinions in official consultations by government authorities, and 3) publishing reviews and studies on the state of competition. However, the Moroccan government has not yet appointed new members to the Competition Council. The U.S. Mission is not aware of any competition cases that have involved foreign investment.

Expropriation and Compensation

Expropriation may only occur in the context of public interest for public use by a State entity, although in the past private entities that are public service “concessionaires,” mixed economy companies, or general interest companies have also been granted expropriation rights. Article 3 of Law No. 7-81 (May 1982) on expropriation, the associated Royal Decree of May 6, 1982, and Decree No. 2-82-328 of April 16, 1983 regulate government authority to expropriate property. The process of expropriation follows two phases. In the administrative phase, the State declares public interest in expropriating specific land, and verifies ownership, titles, and value of the land, as determined by an appraisal. If the State and owner are able to come to agreement on the value, the expropriation is complete. If the owner appeals, the judicial phase begins, whereby the property is taken, a judge oversees the transfer of the property, and payment compensation is made to the owner based on the judgment. The U.S. Mission is not aware of any recent, confirmed instances of private property being expropriated for other than public purposes, or being expropriated in a manner that is discriminatory or not in accordance with established principles of international law.

Dispute Settlement

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

Morocco is a member of the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and signed its convention in June 1967. Morocco is also party to the New York Convention of 1958 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. Law No. 08-05 provides for enforcement of awards made under these conventions.

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

Morocco is signatory to over 60 bilateral treaties recognizing binding international arbitration of trade disputes, including one with the United States. Law No. 08-05 established a system of conventional arbitration and mediation, while allowing parties to apply the Code of Civil Procedure in their dispute resolution. Foreign investors commonly rely on international arbitration to resolve contractual disputes. Commercial courts recognize and enforce foreign arbitrations awards. In general, investor rights are backed by an impartial procedure for dispute settlement that is transparent. There have been no claims brought by foreign investors under the investment chapter of the U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement since it came into effect in 2006. However, the U.S. Mission is aware of approximately ten cases of business disputes over the past ten years involving U.S. investors. In several of these cases, the investors claimed that the incentives associated with their investments were not fulfilled, or were fulfilled later than originally promised.

Morocco officially recognizes foreign arbitration awards issued against the government. Domestic arbitration awards are also enforceable subject to an enforcement order issued by the President of the Commercial Court, who verifies that no elements of the award violate public order or the defense rights of the parties. As Morocco is a member of the New York Convention, international awards are also enforceable in accordance with the provisions of the convention. Morocco is also a member of the Washington Convention for the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), and as such agrees to enforce and uphold ICSID arbitral awards. The U.S. Mission is not aware of extrajudicial action against foreign investors.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

Morocco has a national commission on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) with a mandate to regulate mediation training centers and develop mediator certification systems. Morocco is currently seeking to position itself as a regional center for arbitration in Africa, but the capacity of local courts remains a limiting factor. The Moroccan government established the Center of Arbitration and Mediation housed in Rabat and the Casablanca International Mediation and Arbitration Center (CIMAC). The U.S. Mission is not aware of any investment disputes involving state owned enterprises (SOEs).

Bankruptcy Regulations

Morocco’s bankruptcy law is based on French law. Commercial courts have jurisdiction over all cases related to insolvency, as set forth in Royal Decree No. 1-97-65 (1997). The Commercial Court in the debtor’s place of business holds jurisdiction in insolvency cases. The law gives secured debtors priority claim on assets and proceeds over unsecured debtors, who in turn have priority over equity shareholders. Bankruptcy is not criminalized. The Ministry of Justice and Liberties (MOJL) is currently redrafting Livre V, the national insolvency code. The draft law intends to shift the focus of bankruptcy from liquidation and restructuring to prevention and settlement. The World Bank’s 2017 Doing Business report ranked Morocco 131 out of 190 economies in “Resolving Insolvency.”

Investment Incentives

As set out in the Investment Code (Section 2.4), Morocco offers incentives designed to encourage foreign and local investment. Morocco’s Investment Charter gives the same benefits to all investors regardless of the industry in which they operate (except agriculture and phosphates, which remains outside the scope of the Charter). Morocco has also set up many free zones to offer companies incentives ranging from tax breaks, subsidies, and reduced customs duties. Additionally, businesses associated with Casablanca Finance City (CFC) receive a variety of incentives, including exemption from corporate taxes for the first five years after receiving CFC status. Afterwards, companies are taxed at a reduced rate of 8.75 percent instead of the standard 17.5 percent tax on export turnovers. Companies with regional headquarters in the CFC pay a reduced rate of 10 percent on profits, versus the average 30 percent standard rate. Employees of CFC-status companies also benefit from reduced personal income tax rates. Other CFC advantages include administrative assistance. CFC-status companies benefit from expedited processing of work permit applications for their foreign employees, which reduces wait times from six months to one week. For details on CFC eligibility, see CFC’s website . Lastly, the Moroccan government launched the “investment reform plan” in 2016 to create a favorable environment for the private sector to drive growth. The plan included the adoption of investment incentives to support the industrial ecosystem, tax and customs advantages to support investors and new investment projects, import duty exemptions and a value added tax (VAT) exemption. Visit here  for more details on investment incentives.

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

The government maintains several “free zones” in which companies enjoy lower tax rates in exchange for an obligation to export at least 85 percent of their production. In some cases, the government provides generous incentives for companies to locate production facilities in the country. The Moroccan government also offers a VAT exemption for investors using and importing equipment goods, materials, and tools needed to achieve investment projects that amount to costs higher than or equal to USD 20 million. This incentive lasts for a period of 36 months from the start of the business.

Performance and Data Localization Requirements

The Moroccan government views foreign investment as an important vehicle for creating local employment, although Moroccan labor law does not specifically require that companies hire Moroccan employees. However, visa issuance for foreign employees is contingent upon a company’s inability to find a qualified employee for a specific position, and can only be issued after that company has verified the unavailability of such an employee with the National Agency for the Promotion of Employment and Competency (ANAPEC). If these conditions are met, the Moroccan government allows the hiring of foreign employees, including for senior management. The process for obtaining and renewing visas and work permits can be slow and may take up to six months.

The government does not require the use of domestic content in goods or technologies. The WTO Trade Related Investment Measures’ (TRIMs) database does not indicate any reported Moroccan measures that are inconsistent with TRIMs requirements. However, companies have reported that with regards to public procurement, there tends to be a preference for companies utilizing local content or establishing local production facilities. Both performance requirements and investment incentives are uniformly applied to both domestic and foreign investors depending on the size of the investment.

The Moroccan Data Protection Act (Act 09-08) stipulates that data controllers may only transfer data if a foreign nation ensures an adequate level of protection of privacy and fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals with regard to the treatment of their personal data. Morocco’s National Data Protection Commission (CNDP) defines the exceptions according to Moroccan law. Local regulation requires the release of source code for certain telecommunications hardware products. However, the U.S. Mission is not aware of any Moroccan government requirement that foreign IT companies should provide surveillance or backdoor access to their source-code or systems.

Real Property

Morocco permits foreigners to own land, although they are prohibited from owning agricultural land. Morocco maintains two systems for registering land, one formal and one traditional. According to USAID Morocco’s country profile, approximately 30 percent of the land is registered in the formal system, and almost all of it is in urban areas. These programs are mainly carried out through the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Conservation. Lack of formal registration in Morocco does not mean that ownership is completely unclear. There are customary documents called moulkiya that are registered with traditional notaries. While not as robust as the formal registration system, the traditional system does provide some level of security of ownership. If land is unoccupied by its owner, it is possible for another occupant to gain ownership. A land occupant may obtain private ownership rights if he or she has held the land openly for at least 10 years.

Morocco’s rating for “Registering Property” improved significantly over the past year, with a ranking of 87 out of 190 countries worldwide in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2017 report, five places higher than in 2016. According to the 2017 World Bank report, Morocco made registering property easier by streamlining the property registration process. According to the 2016 International Property Rights Index, Morocco was regionally ranked 9 out of 18 countries in enforcing property rights, maintaining its same index score as previous years. Mortgages and liens exist in Morocco, and banks compete heavily to market specialized mortgage products to Moroccans resident abroad in countries such as France and Belgium.

Intellectual Property Rights

The Ministry of Industry, Trade, Investment, and the Digital Economy oversees the Moroccan Office of Industrial and Commercial Property (OMPIC), which serves as a registry for patents and trademarks in the industrial and commercial sectors. The Ministry of Communications oversees the Moroccan Copyright Office (BMDA), which registers copyrights for literary and artistic works including software, enforces copyright protection, and coordinates with Moroccan and international partners to combat piracy. The Ministry of Communication supported the enactment of new copyright decrees on May 20, 2014, which obligate the police to work on behalf of BMDA to investigate suspected cases of copyright infringement including the illegal selling/production of unlicensed media as well as the pursuit of illegal media use on the radio or television. Additionally, the Ministry of Communication and the BMDA formed a national anti-piracy committee responsible for developing a strategy and a plan for consistent action in combating copyright infringement and counterfeit goods. The National Committee is supported locally by regional committees that mirror the national committee in composition and goal.

In 2016, the Ministry of Communication and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) signed an MOU to expand cooperation to ensure the protection of intellectual property rights in Morocco. The memorandum committed both parties to improving the judicial and operational dimensions of Morocco’s copyright enforcement. Following this MOU, in November 2016, BMDA launched WIPOCOS, a database for collective management organizations or societies, developed by WIPO. In spite of these positive changes, the BMDA office’s current focus on redefining its legal mandate and relationship with other copyright offices worldwide have appeared to lessen its enforcement capacity. However, the reforms BMDA is undertaking reflect positively on its commitment to protecting artists and companies’ copyrights to the utmost extent possible under the law.

Law No. 23-13 on Intellectual Property Rights increased penalties for violation of those rights and better defined civil and criminal jurisdiction and legal remedies. It also sets in motion an accreditation system for patent attorneys in order to better systematize and regulate the practice of patent law. Law No. 34-05, amending and supplementing Law No. 2-00 on Copyright and Related Rights, includes 15 items (Articles 61 to 65) devoted to punitive measures against piracy and other copyright offenses. These range from civil and criminal penalties to the seizure and destruction of seized copies, with fines between USD 500 and USD 10,000, and imprisonment terms from two to six months.

OMPIC enacted a Strategic Plan for 2016-2020 to strengthen the institution’s capacity to carry out its core mandate – granting industrial and commercial property titles and enforcing IPR. This new strategic plan focuses on promoting quality, transparency, and a service-oriented organizational culture, while underscoring the important role that IPR protection has in promoting innovation under Morocco’s 2014-2020 Industrial Acceleration Plan. OMPIC also partnered with the Moroccan General Business Confederation (CGEM) to form the National Committee for Industrial Property and Anti-Counterfeiting (CONPIAC), a bridge between the public and private sectors. CONPIAC has been active in supporting research regarding counterfeiting in Morocco and sponsored public events to raise awareness of the problem. The Casablanca region accounts for 85 percent of national counterfeiting cases. Preliminary studies show that counterfeiting is highest in textiles, followed by leather products, electrical goods, automobile parts, and cosmetics. You may find additional data on Morocco’s counterfeit statistics here. 

Morocco prosecutes some IPR violations. In 2015, the BMDA coordinated raids in Fes, Casablanca, Marrakech, and Rabat, seizing 16,150 pirated compact discs, arresting 14 people, and ultimately prosecuting 4 companies and 5 individuals. Total fines levied in all fours areas amounted to USD 18,850.

Morocco is finalizing an agricultural trade agreement with the EU that would require the protection of thousands of European Geographic Indicators. The U.S. government is seeking to clarify how existing U.S. trademarks and products using generic or common names will be treated, as well as conformity with provisions of the U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement.

Morocco is not listed on either USTR’s Special 301 report or the notorious markets report. Nevertheless, both software and DVD piracy are issues in Morocco. Moreover, while the intellectual property registration system is increasingly efficient and protection mechanisms are in place to defend these rights, enforcement can be lacking and legal avenues at times constrained due to a lack of familiarity with IPR law. For additional information about IPR treaty obligations and points of contact at government offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles here .

Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment

Morocco encourages foreign portfolio investment, and Moroccan legislation applies equally to Moroccan and foreign legal entities and to both domestic and foreign portfolio investment. The Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE), founded in 1929 and re-launched as a private institution in 1993, is one of the few regional exchanges with no restrictions on foreign participation. Local and foreign investors have identical tax exposure on dividends (10 percent) and pay no capital gains tax. With a market capitalization of USD 59 billion and 75 listed companies (as of March 2017), CSE is the third largest exchange in Africa (after the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and the Egyptian Exchange). The market is currently dominated by institutional investors which act on long-term trends. Short-selling, which would provide liquidity to the market, is not allowed on the CSE at present. The Moroccan government initiated the Futures Market Act (Act 42-12) on October 2015 to define the institutional framework of the futures market in Morocco and the role of the regulatory and supervisory authorities.

In November 2015, the Government of Morocco, the Moroccan financial market supervisory body, and shareholders signed a memorandum of understanding setting out a framework to convert the CSE into a joint stock company with a mandate to manage the cash market. Through this demutualization, Morocco’s top banks, the Caisse de Depot et de Gestion (a State-owned financial institution), independent brokerage firms, insurance companies, and Casablanca Finance City Authority would divide the stock market’s share capital. The changes allowed the CSE greater flexibility and access to global markets, and better positioned it as an integrated financial hub for the region. According to the Morgan Stanley Capital International’s (MSCI) 2016 Annual Market Classification Review, Morocco remains a “Frontier Market,” mainly due to its illiquidity. Morocco has accepted the obligations of IMF Article VIII, sections 2(a), 3, and 4, and its exchange system is free of restrictions on making payments and transfers on current international transactions. Credit is allocated on market terms, and foreign investors are able to obtain credit on the local market. The market in Morocco is shallow and illiquid compared to other emerging and frontier markets, with many large firms controlled by privately owned holding groups.

Money and Banking System

Morocco has a well-developed banking sector in Africa, where penetration is rising rapidly and recent improvements in macroeconomic fundamentals have helped resolve previous liquidity shortages. Morocco has some of Africa’s largest banks, and several have become major players on the continent and continue to expand their footprint. The sector has several large, homegrown institutions with international footprints, as well as several subsidiaries of foreign banks. According to the IMF’s 2016 Financial System Stability Assessment on Morocco , Moroccan banks comprise about half of the financial system with total assets of 140 percent of GDP – up from 111 percent in 2008. There are 19 banks operating in Morocco as well as six offshore institutions. Among the 19 banks, the top three account for over two-thirds of the bank system assets and deposits. The top six banks comprise 89 percent of the system’s assets (including both on and off-balance sheet items). Foreign (mainly of French-origin) financial institutions are majority stakeholders in seven banks and nine finance companies. The financial system also comprises several microcredit associations and financing companies, with combined assets of 10.5 percent of GDP.

The Bank Reform Law of 1993 laid out parameters for banking activities, clarified oversight and control responsibilities, specified legal penalties for violations of banking regulations, and established a deposit guarantee fund. The strength of the banking sector has grown significantly in recent years. Since financial liberalization, credit is allocated freely and the central bank has used indirect methods to control the interest rate and volume of credit. The banking participation rate is approximately 60 percent, with significant opportunities remaining for firms pursuing rural and less affluent segments of the market. At the start of 2017, Bank Al-Maghrib, approved five requests to open Islamic banks in the country. The regulatory approvals concern the three major Moroccan banks Attijariwafa Bank, BMCE of Africa and Banque Centrale Populaire (BCP), and two smaller lenders Credit Agricole (CAM) and Credit Immobilier et Hotelier (CIH). The Moroccan government plans to issue its first ever Islamic bond (sukuk) in the domestic market in the first half of 2017. Morocco’s parliament has yet to approve a bill regulating Islamic insurance (takaful).

The incidence of non-performing loans in Morocco has increased in the past five years as a result of the economic slowdown in Europe, with the corporate default rate reaching 15 percent in 2015. The proportion of debt that is overdue fell from 19.4 percent in 2004 to 6 percent in 2008 (an improvement attributed to the loan consolidation process banks undertook) before rising slightly to 7.2 percent in 2015.

Morocco’s accounting, legal, and regulatory procedures are transparent and consistent with international norms. Morocco is a member of UNCTAD’s international network of transparent investment procedures . The Moroccan central bank (Bank Al Maghrib) is responsible for issuing accounting standards for banks and financial institutions. Circular 56/G/2007 issued by Bank Al Maghrib requires that all entities under its supervision use International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) for accounting periods that began January 2008. The Securities Commission is responsible for issuing financial reporting and accounting standards for public companies. Circular No. 06/05 of 2007 reaffirmed the Moroccan Stock Exchange Law (Law No. 52-01), which stipulated that all companies listed on the Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE), other than banks and similar financial institutions, can choose between IFRS and Moroccan Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). In practice, most public companies are using IFRS.

Legal provisions regulating the banking sector include Law No. 76-03 on the Charter of Bank Al-Maghrib, which created an independent board of directors and prohibits the Ministry of Finance and Economy from borrowing from the central bank except in exceptional circumstances. Law No. 34-03 (2006) reinforced the supervisory authority of Bank Al-Maghrib over the activities of credit institutions. Foreign banks and branches are allowed to establish operations in Morocco and are subject to provisions regulating the banking sector. At present, the U.S. Mission is not aware of Morocco losing correspondent banking relationships. Morocco has not signed a Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) inter-governmental agreement with the United States, nor are its banks legally able to comply with FATCA reporting requirements. The Moroccan government is in the process of amending its banking laws to address FATCA requirements.

There are no restrictions on a foreigner’s ability to establish a bank account. However, foreigners who wish to establish a bank account are required to open a “convertible” account that must be opened with foreign currency. The account holder may only deposit foreign currency into that account; at no time can they deposit dirhams.

Foreign Exchange and Remittances

Foreign Exchange

Foreign investments financed in foreign currency can be transferred tax-free, without amount or duration limits. This income can be dividends, attendance fees, rental income, benefits, and interest. Capital contributions made in convertible currency, contributions made by debit of forward convertible accounts, and net transfer capital-gains may also be repatriated. For the transfer of dividends, bonuses, or benefit shares, the investor must provide balance sheets and profit and loss statements, annexed documents relating to the fiscal year in which the transfer is requested, as well as the statement of extra-accounting adjustments made in order to obtain the taxable income.

A currency-convertibility regime is available to foreign investors, including Moroccans living abroad, who invest in Morocco. This regime facilitates their investments in Morocco, repatriation of income, and profits on investments. Morocco guarantees full currency convertibility for capital transactions, free transfer of profits, and free repatriation of invested capital, when such investment is governed by the convertibility arrangement. Generally, the investors must notify the government of the investment transaction, providing the necessary legal and financial documentation. With respect to the cross-border transfer of investment proceeds to foreign investors, the rules vary depending on the type of investment. Investors may import freely without limiting the amount of foreign currency in the form of banknotes, traveler’s checks, bank or postal checks, letters of credit, payment cards or any other means of payment denominated in foreign currency. In the case of the importation of currency into banknotes and/or negotiable instruments in bearer form with a value equal to or greater than USD 10,000, the Moroccan foreign exchange regulations obligate investors to subscribe to a currency declaration from the Customs office of entry. The forms used to subscribe to the currency declaration are provided to the requestor by the Customs services at the borders.

Amounts received from abroad must pass through a convertible dirham account which ensures a convertibility regime in favor of foreign investors. This account permits the realization of investment transactions in Morocco and guarantees the transfer of proceeds for the investment, as well as the repatriation of the proceeds and the capital gain from any resale. AMDI recommends that investors open the account in dirhams convertible on arrival in Morocco in order to be able to quickly dispose of the sums necessary for notarial transactions. Morocco has achieved relatively stable macroeconomic and financial conditions under an exchange rate peg, which has helped achieve price stability and insulated the economy from nominal shocks. The peg was adjusted from an 80/20 Euro/Dollar split to a 60/40 split in April 2015 to reflect evolving trade relations. The IMF has advocated for a more flexible exchange rate, which would allow Morocco to respond better to shocks while improving the economy’s competitiveness. The Bank Al-Maghrib has indicated that it will gradually move towards a more flexible regime beginning in the second half of 2017.

Remittance Policies

Please refer to the previous section for information applicable to Moroccan remittance policies.

Sovereign Wealth Funds

Ithmar Capital is Morocco’s investment fund and financial vehicle with a goal to support the national sectorial strategies. It is based on a Sovereign Wealth Fund model that provides support to international partners wishing to invest in Morocco. Established November 2011 by the Moroccan government and supported by the Hassan II Fund for Economic and Social Development, the fund initially followed the government’s long term Vision 2020 strategic plan for tourism. The fund is currently part of the long-term development plan initiated by the government in different economic sectors. Its value of assets amounts to USD 1.8 billion.

Moroccan SOEs are overseen by boards of directors (in single-tier boards) or supervisory boards (in dual-tier boards). These bodies are governed by the Financial Control Act and the Limited Liability Companies Act. The Ministry of Economy and Finance’s Department of Public Enterprises and Privatization monitors SOE governance. Pursuant to Law No. 69-00, SOE annual accounts are publicly available. Under Law No. 62-99, or the Financial Jurisdictions Code, the Court of Accounts and the Regional Courts of Accounts audit the management of a number of public enterprises.

As of March 2017, the Moroccan Treasury held a direct share in 212 state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and 44 companies. Several sectors remain under public monopoly, managed either directly by public institutions (rail transport, some postal services, and airport services) or by municipalities (wholesale distribution of fruit and vegetables, fish, slaughterhouses). The Office Cherifien des Phosphates (OCP), a public limited company that is 95 percent held by the Moroccan government, is a world-leading exporter of phosphate and derived products. Morocco has opened several traditional government activities using delegated-management or concession arrangements to private domestic or foreign operators, which are generally subject to tendering procedures. Examples include water and electricity distribution, construction and operation of motorways, and the management of non-hazardous wastes. In some cases, SOEs continue to control the infrastructure while allowing private-sector competition through concessions. The Moroccan government provides a published list of SOEs accessible here . SOEs benefit from budgetary transfers from the state treasury for investment expenditures.

The Moroccan National Commission on Corporate Governance was established in 2007. It prepared the first Moroccan Code of Good Corporate Governance Practices in 2008. Based on the OECD Principles of Corporate Governance, it applies to both the private and public sectors. Recognizing the specific features of the SOE sector, the Commission drafted in 2011 a code dedicated to SOEs, drawing on the OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance of SOEs. The code, which came into effect in 2012, is aimed at enhancing SOEs’ overall performance. It requires greater use of standardized public procurement and accounting rules, outside audits, the inclusion of independent directors, board evaluations, greater transparency, and better disclosure. The Moroccan government prioritizes a number of governance-related initiatives including an initiative to help SOEs contribute to the emergence of regional development clusters. The government is also attempting to improve the use of multi-year contracts with major SOEs as a tool to enhance performance and transparency.

Privatization Program

In 1993, the Moroccan government initiated an ambitious program of privatization, which enabled Morocco to channel a large volume of foreign direct investment to key sectors such as telecommunications, energy, agribusiness, financial services, and tourism. When this program ended in August 2011, total revenue from divestment in SOEs and the granting of telecom licenses totaled approximately USD 13 billion. The state still holds significant shares in the main telecommunications companies, banks, and insurance companies, as well as railway and air transport companies.

Responsible business conduct (RBC) has gained strength in the broader business community in tandem with Morocco’s economic expansion and stability. Businesses are active in RBC programs related to the environment, local communities, employees, and consumers. For example, business association CGEM awards “social labels” to companies based on a systematic analysis of the effects of their RBC activities on local communities. Large multinationals first started implementing RBC programs in Morocco in the 1990s. The Moroccan government does not have any regulations requiring companies to practice RBC nor gives any preference to such companies. However, companies generally inform Moroccan authorities of their planned RBC involvement. Authorities have supported companies’ RBC programs by giving them permission, where necessary, to operate and in some cases by implementing these programs through public-private partnerships. The Moroccan Association of Textile and Apparel Industries awards a “Fibre Citoyenne” label to socially responsible companies. Additionally, Morocco joined the UN Global Compact network in 2006. The Compact provides support to companies that affirm their commitment to social responsibility. In 2016, the Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs launched an annual gender equality prize to highlight Moroccan companies that promote women in the workforce. While there is no legislation mandating specific levels of RBC, foreign firms and some local enterprises follow generally-accepted principles, such as the OECD RBC guidelines for multinational companies. NGOs and Morocco’s active civil society are also taking an increasingly active role in monitoring corporations’ RBC performance. Morocco does not currently participate in the EITI or the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. No domestic transparency measures exist that require disclosure of payments made to governments. There have not been any cases of high-profile instances of private sector impact on human rights in the recent past.

In the 2016 Corruption Perception Index published by Transparency International  (TI), Morocco ranked 90 out of 176 countries. There has been little change in Morocco’s ranking over the last 10 years. Government officials have criticized the Index, which reflects public perceptions concerning corruption, for not emphasizing recent anti-corruption efforts. According to the 2016 State Department’s Country Report on Human Rights Practices, Moroccan law provides criminal penalties for official corruption, but the government does not implement the law effectively.

The Central Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (ICPC) is the agency responsible for combating corruption. In 2015, parliament amended the mandate of the ICPC, expanding its authority to conduct investigations of corruption allegations and solicit mandatory responses from government institutions. In 2010, ICPC set up an internet portal for civil society and small businesses  to identify instances of corruption. In addition to ICPC, MOJL and the government accountability court have jurisdiction over corruption issues. The government reports corruption and other instances of police malfeasance through an internal mechanism. Morocco’s anti-corruption efforts include enhancing the transparency of public tenders and implementation of a requirement that senior government officials submit financial disclosure statements at the start and end of their government service, although their family members are not required to make such disclosures. Morocco does not have conflict of interest legislation.

Although the Moroccan government does not require that private companies establish internal codes of conduct, the Moroccan Institute of Directors (IMA) was established in June 2009 with the goal of bringing together individuals, companies, and institutions willing to promote corporate governance and conduct. IMA published the four Moroccan Codes of Good Corporate Governance Practices. Since 2010, 185 top executives, senior managers, and board members carried out IMA training on corporate governance. Some private companies use internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials. Morocco signed the UN Convention against Corruption in 2007 and hosted the States Parties to the Convention’s Fourth Session in 2011. However, Morocco does not provide any formal protections to NGOs involved in investigating corruption. Although the U.S. Mission is not aware of cases involving corruption with regard to Customs or taxation issues, there are often unexpected delays in processing.

Resources to Report Corruption

Contact at government agency responsible for combating corruption:

Instance Centrale de Preevention de la Corruption
Avenue Annakhil, Immeuble High Tech, Hall B, 3eme etage, Hay Ryad-Rabat
+212-5 37 57 86 60

Contact at “watchdog” organization:

Transparency International National Chapter
24 Boulevard de Khouribga, Casablanca 20250
+212-22-542 699

Morocco does not have a history of politically motivated violence or civil disturbance. There has not been any damage to projects and/or installations which has had a continuing impact on the investment environment. Demonstrations occur frequently in Morocco and usually center on political or social issues. They can attract thousands of people in major city centers, but most have been peaceful and orderly.

A paradox of the Moroccan labor market is that large numbers of graduates are unable to find jobs commensurate with their education and training, while employers complain of skills shortages and mismatches. Many recent high school and university graduates lack the soft skills to communicate effectively with employers and find jobs commensurate with their education. Industrial skills are not prioritized, and skills that graduates acquire are not transferrable to any real-world working environment, causing gaps between skills supply and demand. Since 2011, the Moroccan government has restructured its employment promotion agency, the National Agency for Promotion of Employment and Skills (ANAPEC), in order to assist new university graduates in preparing for and finding work in the private sector through specialized skills. The Bureau of Professional Training and Job Promotion (OFPPT), Morocco’s main public provider for professional training, also launched the Specialized Institute for Aeronautics and Airport Logistics (ISMALA) in Casablanca at the end of 2013 to offer technical training in aeronautical maintenance. According to figures released by Bank al Maghrib, unemployment in 2016 was 9.6 percent with unemployment among youth aged 15 to 24 reaching 40.8 percent in some urban areas.

As a result of a forward-leaning migration policy, the Moroccan government has regularized over 20,000 sub-Saharans migrants since 2014 and is currently reviewing over 18,000 new applications to regularize a second wave of sub-Saharan migrants. Regularization provides the migrants with legal access to employment, employment services, and education and vocation training. The majority of sub-Saharan migrants who benefitted from the regularization program work in call centers (if their French skills are strong), domestic work, and construction.

According to section VI of the labor law, employers in the commercial, industrial, agricultural, and forestry sectors with ten or more employees must communicate dismissal decision to the employee’s union representatives, where applicable, at least one month prior to dismissal. The employer must also provide grounds for dismissal, the number of employees concerned, and the amount of time intended to undertake termination. With regards to severance pay (article 52 of the labor law), the employee bound by an indefinite employment contract is entitled to compensation in case of dismissal after six months of work in the same company regardless of the mode of remuneration and frequency of payment and wages. The labor law differentiates between layoffs for economic reason and firing. In case of serious misconduct, the employee may be dismissed without notice or compensation or payment of damages. The employee must file an application with the National Social Security Funds (CNSS) agency of his or her choice, within a period not exceeding 60 days from the date of loss of employment. During this period, the employee shall be entitled to medical benefits, family allowances, and shall be taken into consideration for pension entitlements. Labor law is applicable in all sectors of employment; there are no specific labor laws to foreign trade zones or other sectors. Please visit link  for more information.

Morocco has roughly 20 collective bargaining agreements in the following sectors: Telecommunications, automotive industry, refining industry, road transport, fish canning industry, aircraft cable factory, collection of domestic waste, ceramics, naval construction and repair, paper industry, communication and information, land transport, and banks. The sectoral agreements that exist to date are in the banking, energy, printing, chemicals, ports, and agricultural sectors. According to the State Department’s Country Report on Human Rights Practices , the Moroccan constitution grants workers the right to form and join unions, strike, and bargain collectively, with some restrictions (S 396-429 Labor Code Act 1999, No. 65/99). The law prohibits certain categories of government employees, including members of the armed forces, police, and some members of the judiciary, from forming and joining unions and from conducting strikes. The law allows several independent unions to exist but requires 35 percent of the total employee base to be associated with a union for the union to be representative and engage in collective bargaining. The government generally respected freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. Employers limited the scope of collective bargaining, frequently setting wages unilaterally for the majority of unionized and nonunionized workers. Domestic NGOs reported that employers often used temporary contracts to discourage employees from affiliating with or organizing unions. Legally, unions can negotiate with the government on national-level labor issues.

Labor disputes (S 549-581 Labor Code Act 1999, No. 65/99) are common, and in some cases, they result in employers failing to implement collective bargaining agreements and withholding wages. Trade unions complain that the government sometimes uses Article 288 of the penal code to prosecute workers for striking and to suppress strikes. Labor inspectors are tasked with mediation of labor disputes. On May 31, the major labor unions held a public-sector strike, including local collectivities, and planned a sit-in in front of Parliament to protest pension reform and the failure of the dialogue. In general, strikes are frequent in heavily unionized sectors such as education and government services, and such strikes can lead to disruptions in government services but usually remain peaceful. The Moroccan government passed the Domestic Worker Law and the long-debated pension reform bill in July 2016. The new pension reform legislation is expected to keep Morocco’s largest pension fund, the Caisse Marocaine de Retraites (CMR), solvent until 2028 with an increase in the retirement age from 60 to 63 by 2024 and adjustments in contributions and future allocations.

In August 2013, OPIC provided its consent for a new USD 40 million, eight-year term loan facility with Attijariwafa Bank to support loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Morocco under a risk-sharing agreement between OPIC and Citi Maghreb. In August 2014, OPIC signed an additional agreement with Attijariwafa and Wells Fargo to provide additional support to SMEs. OPIC has a long history of supporting projects in Morocco and has provided finance or insurance support to 22 deals over the past four decades. Morocco signed an agreement with OPIC in 1961. The agreement was updated in 1995 and ratified by the Moroccan parliament in June 2004. The agreement can be found here: http://www.opic.gov/sites/default/files/docs/africa/Morocco-1995.pdf .

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy

Host Country Statistical Source* USG or International Statistical Source USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($B USD) 2014 $109.3 2015 $100.6 www.worldbank.org/en/morocco 
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical Source* USG or International Statistical Source USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2015 $306.0 2015 $304.0 http://www.bea.gov/international/factsheet/ 
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) 2014 8.6 N/A N/A N/A
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP 2014 .008% N/A N/A N/A

*Host Country Domestic GDP Source: Bank Al Maghrib, 2014. FDI Host Country Source: Office des Change, Morocco’s Global External Financial Position, 2015. Note: The discrepancy between the host nation and international statistical sources is due to the two sources referring to different periods of time for their stock figures.

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI

Direct Investment from/in Counterpart Economy Data
From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions)
Inward Direct Investment Outward Direct Investment
Total Inward $49,693.2 100% Total Outward $4,697.7 100%
France $17,059.6 34% France $617.2 13%
United Arab Emirates $9,916.2 20% Cote d’Ivoire $494.7 11%
Spain $4,993.8 10% Mali $428.2 9%
U.S. $2,669.7 5% Belgium $223.1 5%
Switzerland $1,838.2 4% Benin $162.7 3%
“0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000.

Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment

Portfolio Investment Assets
Top Five Partners (Millions, US Dollars)
Total Equity Securities Total Debt Securities
All Countries 11,050.5 100% All Countries 3,273.10 100% All Countries 7,777.30 100%

Contact Point at U.S. Mission Morocco for Public Inquiries:

Brenda VanHorn
Senior Commercial Officer
U.S. Consulate General, Casablanca
+212 522 64 21 29

2017 Investment Climate Statements: Morocco
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