The Honorable Robert C. Byrd
President Pro Tempore
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Byrd:
At the direction of the President, I am pleased to notify the
Congress that the President intends to initiate negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) with
Morocco 90 days from the date of this letter. This notification is in accordance with section 2104(a)(1)
of the Trade Act of 2002. It is crucial that we move forward on this and other trade agreements in
order to restore America’s leadership on trade.
The Administration is committed to bringing back trade agreements
that open markets to benefit our farmers, workers, businesses, and families. With the Congress’
continued help, we can move promptly to advance America’s trade interests.
In my letter of August 22, 2002, to the Congressional leadership
and trade committees, I outlined the reasons that it is in the United States’ interest to pursue a
free trade agreement with Morocco. An FTA will create improved commercial and market opportunities
for U.S. exports to Morocco and to North and West Africa. It will foster economic growth,
increase living standards, and create higher paying jobs in the United States and Morocco by
reducing and eliminating bilateral barriers to trade, while reinforcing important American values in
the region. This FTA will also further strengthen our relations with a country that was one of
the first to condemn the September 11 terrorist attacks and has stood by our side ever since.
Trade liberalization with Morocco will support this
Administration’s commitment to promote more tolerant, open, and prosperous Muslim societies. A
U.S.-Morocco FTA will support the significant economic and political reforms underway in Morocco,
enhance the Moroccan government’s efforts to attract new trade and investment, and
promote sustainable development. Such increased trade and investment can help create better jobs
for Morocco’s citizens. For both Morocco and the United States, implementation of the agreement of
course will be critical to realizing its benefits. The Administration therefore intends to
target ongoing development assistance and trade-related technical assistance to help Morocco
follow through on the commitments it will make as part of the FTA.
Initial consultations with Members of Congress regarding an FTA
with Morocco have been positive, and we believe that there is broad bipartisan interest
in such an agreement. The Administration will continue to consult closely with the Congress,
including the new Congressional Oversight Group.
Our specific objectives for negotiations with Morocco are as
• Trade in Goods:
– Seek to eliminate tariffs and other duties and charges on trade
between Morocco and the United States on the broadest possible basis, subject to
reasonable adjustment periods for import-sensitive products.
– Pursue favorable staging of tariff elimination and other market
access commitments that improve the competitive position of U.S. goods
vis-á-vis the European Union, which already has an association agreement with
– Seek to have Morocco join the WTO Information Technology
– Seek to eliminate Morocco’s non-tariff barriers to U.S. exports,
including licensing barriers, restrictive administration of tariff-rate
quotas, unjustified trade restrictions that affect new U.S. technologies, and other trade
restrictive measures that U.S. exporters identify.
– Seek to have the Moroccan government reform its policies in the
agricultural sector, particularly with respect to the grains market.
– Seek to eliminate Moroccan government practices that adversely
affect U.S. exports of perishable or cyclical agricultural products, while
improving U.S. import relief mechanisms as appropriate.
– Pursue a mechanism with Morocco that will support achieving the
U.S. objective in the WTO negotiations of eliminating all export subsidies on
agricultural products, while maintaining the right to provide bona fide food aid
and preserving U.S. agricultural market development and export credit
– Pursue fully reciprocal access to the Moroccan market for U.S.
textile and apparel products.
• Customs Matters, Rules
of Origin, and Enforcement Cooperation:
– Seek rules to require that Morocco’s customs operations are
conducted with transparency, efficiency, and predictability and that customs
laws, regulations, decisions, and rulings are not applied in a manner that would
create unwarranted procedural obstacles to international trade.
– Seek rules of origin, procedures for applying these rules, and
provisions to address circumvention matters that will ensure that preferential duty
rates under the FTA with Morocco apply only to goods eligible to receive such
treatment, without creating unnecessary obstacles to trade.
– Seek terms for cooperative efforts with the Moroccan government
regarding enforcement of customs and related issues, including trade in
textiles and apparel.
• Sanitary and
Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures:
– Seek to have Morocco reaffirm its WTO commitments on SPS
measures and eliminate any unjustified SPS restrictions.
– Seek to strengthen collaboration with Morocco in implementing
the WTO SPS Agreement and to enhance cooperation with Morocco in relevant
international bodies on developing international SPS standards, guidelines,
• Technical Barriers to
– Seek to have Morocco reaffirm its WTO TBT commitments and
eliminate any unjustified TBT measures.
– Seek to strengthen collaboration with Morocco on implementation
of the WTO TBT Agreement and create a procedure for exchanging information
with Morocco on TBT-related issues.
• Intellectual Property
– Seek to establish standards to be applied in Morocco that build
on the foundations established in the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of
Intellectual Property (TRIPs Agreement) and other international intellectual
property agreements, such as the World Intellectual Property Organization
Copyright Treaty and Performances and Phonograms Treaty and the Patent
– In areas such as patent protection and protection of undisclosed
information, seek to have Morocco apply levels of protection and practices more in
line with U.S. law and practices, including appropriate flexibility.
– Seek to strengthen Morocco’s procedures to enforce intellectual
property rights, such as by ensuring that Moroccan authorities seize suspected
pirated and counterfeit goods, equipment used to make such goods or to
transmit pirated goods, and documentary evidence. Seek to strengthen measures in
Morocco that provide for compensation of right holders for infringements of
intellectual property rights and to provide for criminal penalties under
Moroccan law that are sufficient to have a deterrent effect on piracy and
• Trade in
– Pursue disciplines to address discriminatory and other barriers
to trade in Morocco’s services markets. Pursue a comprehensive approach to
market access, including any necessary improvements in access to the
telecommunications, financial services, energy and other sectors.
– Seek improved transparency and predictability of Moroccan
regulatory procedures, specialized disciplines for financial services and
additional disciplines for telecommunication services and other sectors as necessary.
– Seek appropriate provisions to ensure that Morocco will
facilitate the temporary entry of U.S. business persons into its territory, while ensuring
that any commitments by the United States are limited to temporary entry
provisions and do not require any changes to U.S. laws and regulations relating
to permanent immigration and permanent employment rights.
– Since the United States and Morocco have a bilateral investment
treaty in effect, we do not expect areas covered by this treaty to be part of the
negotiation. However, in the event it is determined that U.S. interests would
be better served with additional (by updating) investment provisions, we will of
course review these with Congress. In any event, we will seek to improve the
investment climate for U.S. companies in Morocco through commitments in
related areas, such as those governing regulatory transparency, services, and
intellectual property rights.
– Seek to affirm that Morocco will allow goods and services to be
delivered electronically and seek to ensure that Morocco does not apply
customs duties to digital products or unjustifiably discriminate among products
– Seek to establish rules requiring government procurement
procedures and practices in Morocco procurement to be fair, transparent, and
predictable for suppliers of U.S. goods and services who seek to do business with
the Moroccan government.
– Seek to expand access for U.S. goods and services to Morocco’s government procurement market.
• Transparency/Anti-Corruption/Regulatory Reform