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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06RABAT1868 2006-10-06 14:16:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Rabat
Cable title:  

TRADE AGREEMENT MONITORING AT EMBASSY RABAT

Tags:   ETRD BEXP MO 
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1. (SBU) Since the entry-into-force of the U.S.-Morocco Free
Trade Agreement on January 1, 2006, the U.S. Mission in
Morocco has made monitoring of Moroccan compliance with the
agreement a top priority. We carry out this responsibility
through an interagency team, chaired by the Embassy Economic
Counselor, and including all economic agencies at both the
Embassy in Rabat and the Consulate General in Casablanca. We
also work closely with the U.S. private sector through the
American Chamber of Commerce in Casablanca, to learn its
concerns and exchange information about compliance issues.
The following information is keyed to the action request in
para 11 of reftel:



A. Mission Organization: The interagency Trade Agreement
Monitoring and Compliance Team at Embassy Rabat is chaired by
the Economic Counselor and includes representatives from FCS
(Commercial Counselor Rick Ortiz, who is based at the
Consulate in Casablanca), FAS (Embassy Agricultural Attache
Michael Fay), USAID (Economic Growth Team Leader James May)
and the Economic Section (both the counselor and Trade
Officer Jim Jimenez). It meets on a monthly basis to review
developments relating to the FTA, and briefs Mission
leadership on emerging issues, both to solicit their guidance
and to enlist them in lobbying the GOM.



B. Contact person: Economic Counselor Stuart Smith;
212-37-76-22-65, x2132; fax 212-37-76-39-84; e-mail
smithsm2@state.gov.



C. Complaint Response Activities: Mission's interagency team
is currently working with American businesses regarding what
we perceive to be excessive Moroccan restrictions on
transhipment of American goods through third ports in Europe.
After extensive contacts with industry and intial
conversations with GOM officials, we are in the process of
scheduling a direct video-conference between U.S. and
Moroccan customs officials, to permit U.S. and Moroccan trade
and customs officials to discuss the issue directly. We are
also engaged in discussions about bilateral differences
regarding allocation of quotas for grain imports under the
agreement.

Similarly, when the Moroccans raise questions or concerns
about U.S. implementation of the agreement, we relay those
inquiries to Washington agencies.



D. Proactive Monitoring: Members of mission's interagency
team meet regularly with American businesses, including a
monthly session with the Free Trade Committee of the American
Chamber of Commerce in Casablanca. When we receive specific
complaints, as regarding transhipment, we follow up
agressively, lobbying Moroccan agencies on the company's
behalf, and when that is unsuccessful, pressing for direct
exchanges between U.S. and Moroccan experts to resolve the
difference in interpretation of the agreement.

******************************************
Visit Embassy Rabat's Classified Website;
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/rabat
******************************************

RILEY