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EFTA, Morocco enter new trade relationship

A new trade accord took effect on Wednesday between Morocco and the European Free Trade Association, which includes Switzerland.

This content was published on December 1, 1999 - 11:44

A new trade accord took effect on Wednesday between Morocco and the European Free Trade Association, which includes Switzerland.

The Swiss Economics Ministry said the accord, which is the 14th of its kind, was part of a strategy to create a huge free trade zone involving European nations and other countries bordering the Mediterranean.

The EFTA trading bloc groups Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Under the new accord, EFTA members fully abolish import duties on industrial and agriculture goods as well as fish products. Morocco in turn pledges to phase out its import levies within the next 12 years.

EFTA has already signed similar free trade agreements with 14 nations and current negotiations involve Canada, Cyprus, Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia.

The EFTA accord takes effect at the same time as Morocco’s association accord with the 15-nation European Union – an agreement also aimed at creating a free trade zone.

A fishing rights agreement between Morocco and the EU has now expired. Morocco opposes foreign fishing fleets operating in its waters. A 1995 accord failed to resolve the issue of international boats wishing to use the North African country's facilities.

EU member Spain is the country most affected by the decision and boats that once used Moroccan ports now will have to moor in Spain and the Canary Islands.

From staff and wire reports.

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