Morocco and Turkey sign free trade deal

Morocco and Turkey sign free trade deal
Published: 09 April 2004

Morocco and Turkey have agreed to abolish trade barriers part of an EU-drive aiming to set up a Mediterranean free trade area, Communication Minister Nabil Benabdellah said on Thursday.  Benabdellah told reporters after a cabinet meeting that the deal was signed during a visit to Ankara by Prime Minister Driss Jettou on Wednesday.  "This deal with a Muslim country...which has a developed industry will open a window of opportunities in investment and job creation in Morocco," the government spokesman said.  Turkish cement and shoes, for instance, will get immediate and tariff-free access.  A European Union statement hailed the deal as a "significant step" towards achieving a free trade area in the Mediterranean area by 2010.  Turkey aspires to join the EU while Morocco begun in 2000 a gradual 12-year dismantling of tariffs with the block, which accounts for two-thirds its total foreign trade.