LONDON - British Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa Andrew Murrison signed a continuity agreement on Saturday with Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita.
The deal signed in London will ensure British businesses and consumers benefit from continued access to the Moroccan market after Britain leaves the European Union.
“The UK and Morocco have a close friendship and an important diplomatic history that is over 800 years old,” said Murrison.
“The signing of this Agreement builds on the UK’s deep cultural, political and economic ties with the region and demonstrates our commitment to increase trade and constructive dialogue with Morocco, said the British minister.
The deal will give exporters and consumers the certainty they need to continue trading freely and in confidence as the UK prepares to leave the EU.
It provides, among other trade benefits, tariff-free trade of industrial products together with the liberalisation of trade in agricultural, agri-food and fisheries products.
Moroccan FM said that the deal aimed at maintaining trade momentum with the UK after Brexit.
“Morocco is satisfied with this agreement which is consistent with the position of Morocco and which respects its interests”, said Bourita at the signing ceremony.
Trade between the UK and Morocco was worth £2.5 billion in 2018.
Minister of State for Trade Policy, Conor Burns said that “the world is ready to sign free trade deals with Britain, they want to work with our people and have better links with our industries and it is our priority to ensure businesses have the tools they need to continue trading freely after Brexit.”
“The agreement signed with Morocco today will help provide certainty for businesses, ensuring they can continue to trade on the same terms with our Moroccan partners,” said Burns.
“I look forward to maintaining and further strengthening our current trade, political and security relationship with Morocco as we continue to work closely together in the future,” he added.
Murrison and Burns were in Morocco on September 17 to take part in the second UK-Morocco Strategic Dialogue held in Rabat.
The Dialogue covered several topics on political, economic, security and cultural relations between Britain and Morocco.
The continuity agreement seeks to deepen UK-Moroccan cooperation across foreign policy, economic, social and cultural ties. It provides a framework for policy dialogue and to strengthen cooperation on important issues like trade, educational and environmental matters. The agreement consolidates Britain’s growing interest in Morocco, which offers unique geostrategic positions and is the gate to Africa.
British Ambassador to Morocco Thomas Reilly said that Morocco has a well-diversified and modern market across a number of sectors where UK companies and expertise have much to offer.
“I hope that this agreement will usher in a new phase of increased bilateral investment in each other’s economies, which is so essential for continued stable economic growth,” said Reilly.
The two countries also signed a political declaration, in addition to an exchange of letters over an understanding on dispute settlements and a mutual agreement on the access of all Moroccan products, including those from the Western Sahara, to the UK market.
The continuity agreement will be subject to domestic parliamentary procedures in both the UK and Morocco before it is brought into force.
It will take effect when the EU-Morocco Association Agreement ceases to apply to the UK if the latter leaves the European bloc on January 31.