U.S. And Morocco Reach Free Trade Agreement

By John S. McClenahen Although implementation of the pact is subject to Congressional approval, the U.S. on Mar. 2 concluded a free-trade agreement (FTA) with Morocco, another step toward creation of a Middle East Free Trade Area by 2013. The U.S. already has FTAs with Israel and Jordan and negotiations for a pact with Bahrain are underway. Under terms of the pending agreement, more than 95% of trade between the U.S. and Morocco in consumer and industrial products would become tariff-free immediately upon implementation, says the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Robert B. Zoellick. All remaining tariffs on such manufactured goods would be eliminated within nine years. U.S. makers of information technology products, construction equipment, machinery and chemicals are among those who would benefit most from the agreement, says Zoellick's office. The U.S. exports about $475 million worth of products a year to Morocco.

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