Washington analyzes the investment climate in Morocco

On July 28, the US State Department released a report on Morocco’s investment climate, titled “2022 Investment Climate Statements: Morocco.” Morocco has political stability, a strategic geographic location and strong infrastructure that have helped it become a regional manufacturing and export base for international companies, the report said.

The Kingdom actively encourages and facilitates foreign investment, especially in export sectors such as manufacturing, through positive macroeconomic policies, trade liberalization, investment incentives and structural reforms. , the report notes.

The Moroccan government, continues the same source, is implementing strategies outlined in the new development model aimed at stimulating employment, attracting foreign investment and increasing efficiency and production in key income-generating sectors. , with an emphasis on added value. industries such as renewable energy, automotive, aerospace, textile, pharmaceutical, outsourcing and agribusiness.

In addition, the US State Department emphasizes that Morocco prioritizes investments in Africa as part of its strategy to expand commercial relations on the continent and guarantee its title of “gateway to the world”. “Africa”.

The African Development Bank, the same source continued, ranks Morocco second among African investors in sub-Saharan Africa after South Africa and first among African investors in West Africa. “OCP Africa, a subsidiary of Moroccan phosphate giant OCP, is present in 16 African countries and continues to invest in infrastructure supporting phosphate exports,” the report said, adding that $808 million, or 43% of total FDI from Morocco , were exported from Morocco. invested in the African continent in 2021.

“However, under the Moroccan Investment Code, the repatriation of funds is limited to accounts in ‘convertible’ Moroccan dirhams. The Exchange Office has introduced several changes for 2022 that will liberalize the country’s currency laws. Moroccans traveling abroad for tourism purposes can now exchange up to US$10,000 in foreign currency per year, with the possibility of additional allowances indexed up to 30% of income tax returns with a maximum limit of US$30,000.

Business travelers can also receive larger amounts of foreign currency, provided their business has properly declared and paid corporation tax. Another new provision allows banks to use foreign currency accounts to finance investments in Morocco’s industrial acceleration zones,” the report said.

Conducting business

The US State Department also recalls that the World Bank ranked Morocco 53 out of 190 economies in its Doing Business 2020 report, up seven positions from the previous report in 2019 and up 75 positions over the past decade compared to 128 in 2010.

“Since 2012, Morocco has implemented reforms that simplify business registration, such as removing the need to submit a registration declaration to the Ministry of Labour, reducing company registration fees and removing minimum capital requirements for limited liability companies. Each of the 12 regional investment centers (RICs) has a website to help investors go through the registration process,” the same source said.

However, registering a business in Morocco takes an average of nine days, significantly less than the average for the Middle East and North Africa (20 days). The implementation of Law 18-17 on doing business through electronic means in 2021 will allow Morocco to earn points in the Doing Business ranking.

“All steps related to creating, recording and publishing company data can be done through this platform. A new national commission will monitor the implementation of the procedures,” the message reads. On the other hand, the report states that “Law 55-19 on the Simplification of Administrative Procedures, adopted in 2020, aims to optimize administrative processes by defining and standardizing documentary requirements, eliminating unnecessary steps and transforming the process completely digital through a national administrative portal launched in 2021, but only available in Arabic.”

Morocco is the only country in Africa that has concluded an FTA with the US

In addition, the report notes that Morocco has ratified 72 investment agreements for the promotion and protection of investments and 62 economic agreements, including with the United States and most EU countries, which aim to eliminate double taxation of income or earnings.

The same publication also reports that the Kingdom is the only country on the African continent to have signed a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States, eliminating customs duties on more than 95% of consumer and industrial goods. The Moroccan government plans to gradually abolish customs duties on some products by 2030.

Since the entry into force of the United States-Morocco Free Trade Area Agreement, bilateral trade in goods has increased nearly fivefold, according to the report. However, according to the same document, weak protection of intellectual property rights, inefficient bureaucracy, corruption, insufficient safeguards against money laundering and slow regulatory reforms remain challenges for Morocco to address.