[Withdrawn] Doing business in Morocco: Morocco trade and export guide


Morocco export overview

Morocco is an important emerging market. It has been identified as part of a group of fast-growing nations described as ‘African Lions’.

Contact a Department for International Trade (DIT) Morocco export adviser for a free consultation if you are interested in exporting to Morocco.

Contact UK Export Finance (UKEF) about trade finance and insurance cover for UK companies. You can also check the current UKEF cover position for Morocco.

Morocco is in a strategic location for access to Europe. It is also well located as a platform for reaching other international markets, especially North and West Africa. With Africa increasingly seen as a future engine of global growth, Morocco is a potential gateway to the continent for UK companies.

Many UK companies are already doing business in Morocco, including G4S, GlaxoSmithKline, Shell Vivo Energy, Unilever, and Marks and Spencer, to name a few. There is also an increasing footprint from UK law firms and oil and gas exploration companies.

Strengths of the Moroccan market include:

  • good communication network and global transport connections
  • strategic geographic location and gateway to Africa
  • open Skies Agreement with the European Union (EU) and low cost flights from the UK
  • strong banking and finance sector
  • ‘advanced status’ with the EU since 2008
  • competitive labour costs
  • tax incentives, no restrictions to capital and ease of repatriation for profits and dividends
  • Morocco was ranked fairly high in the World Bank 2016 Doing Business Report, moving up 5 places from 2015


Challenges doing business in Morocco

There are some challenges to doing business in Morocco, including:

  • bureaucracy
  • implementation of legislations and delayed decision making
  • counterfeiting
  • corruption (scored quite poorly in the Corruption Perception Index)
  • competition from EU trading partners and growing competition from non EU countries
  • price sensitivity of the market and low consumer purchasing power
  • high unemployment and large informal sector

You should ensure you take the necessary steps to comply with the requirements of the UK Bribery Act.


Growth potential


Economic growth

Morocco is a stable emerging market and has made remarkable economic progress over the past few years. Over the last decade, Morocco has significantly liberalised its trade regime and strengthened its financial sector. It retains strong international market confidence and continues to attract significant Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth slowed to 2.4% in 2014 due to falling agricultural yields. GDP growth is expected to increase up to 4.5% in 2015 driven by manufacturing and services activity.

Agriculture remains an important part of the economy. It employs around 40% of the population and represents 15 to 20% of GDP.

Industrial activity registered an increase in car manufacturing, aerospace, chemical and food-processing industries.


Free trade agreements

Morocco has several free trade agreements currently in place with various countries, including the EU, the USA, Turkey, Jordan, Tunisia, Egypt and across Africa.


UK and Morocco trade

The UK is one of Morocco’s oldest partners with 2013 marking 800 years of diplomatic relations. UK links to Anglophone Africa and Morocco’s Francophone African links create a platform for new business relationships.
UK exports of goods to Morocco £573 million in 2014. Bilateral trade in goods and services is worth around £1.8 billion.

The UK is among the top 6 foreign investors in Morocco.

Top UK exports to Morocco include:

  • mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation
  • vehicles (other than railway)
  • iron and steel
  • nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances
  • electrical machinery and equipment
  • aircraft and spacecraft
  • man-made staple fibres
  • knitted or crocheted fabrics
  • instruments and apparatus
  • beverages, spirits and vinegar
  • organic chemicals and miscellaneous chemical products
  • plastics and plastic products


Opportunities for UK businesses in Morocco

Department for International Trade (DIT) provides free international export sales leads from its worldwide network. Search for export opportunities.


Financial services

The Casablanca Stock Exchange is the second largest in Africa and aspires to be the regional hub. The London Stock Exchange was selected as a strategic and technology partner for the Casablanca Stock Exchange. In June 2014 the 2 entities signed a partnership to support the development of Moroccan capital markets.

There is huge potential for the UK and Morocco to work more closely as strategic partners in:

  • banking
  • insurance
  • participative or Islamic finance
  • Public Private Partnership (PPP)
  • capital markets

Contact Francine.torbett@fco.gov.uk for more information on the financial services sector.



Morocco has an ambitious strategy to develop renewable energy resources. The strategy focuses on awareness of environmental issues and the need for energy efficiency. The aim is to make Morocco less reliant on energy imported energy.

Approximately 94% of energy needs in 2011 were imported, which leads to opportunities for UK companies in:

  • renewable energy
  • energy efficiency
  • hydrocarbon exploration.
  • environment, water and waste management
  • upstream oil and gas and minerals exploration (many British companies operate in this sector in Morocco)

Contact Fatima-zahra.kerdoum@fco.gov.uk for more information on the renewable and environment sectors and Francine.torbett@fco.gov.uk for information on the power, energy, and oil and gas sector.


Safety and security

Safety and security is one of Morocco’s top priorities. There are major projects in infrastructure, sports and tourism that will create new opportunities.

There are currently opportunities for UK companies in:

  • fire safety
  • border and access control
  • surveillance and detection equipment
  • imaging and police technology

Contact Export Control Organisation (ECO) to check your goods are meeting legal requirements for export.

Contact ghali.idrissikaitouni@fco.gov.uk for more information on the safety and security sector.


Education and training

There is a demand for UK education and training at all levels. Vocational training across all industries offers much potential for UK expertise. 2014 introduced the first ever English Baccalaureate ‘English option’ to the Moroccan International Baccalaureate (IB) program in Moroccan state schools.

There is also a growing demand for UK companies with:

  • schooling
  • English language provision
  • academic partnerships with universities

Contact Najat.benyahia@fco.gov.uk for more information on the education and training sector.


Construction and infrastructure

Morocco’s growth is accompanied by an overarching transport and infrastructure strategy. The construction and infrastructure sectors offer many potential opportunities for UK companies in:

  • urban and rural infrastructure projects
  • new motorways, road and rail construction
  • urban and national transport development programmes
  • upgrading ports and airports
  • construction of new towns and industrial areas
  • construction of leisure facilities, hotels and resorts

Contact Najat.benyahia@fco.gov.uk for more information on the construction and infrastructure sector.


Start-up considerations

You can approach the Moroccan market in several ways:

  • export direct
  • set up a company
  • appoint a distributor/agent
  • joint venture or manufacture under license/sub-contracting agreement

You are advised to appoint a local representative even if you choose to export directly.

The main types of local company are:

  • general partnership
  • limited partnership
  • Private Limited Company
  • Limited Liability Company
  • limited partnership with shares
  • joint venture

The most common forms of operation are Limited Liability Company and the Private Limited Company.


Legal considerations

Contact the Department for International Trade (DIT) team in Morocco to help find tax and legal advisers before entering into agreements.

The AMDI (local investment development agency) and Centre Regional d’Investissement (CRI) can provide you with detailed information on export regulations.


Intellectual property

Trademarks, designs, patents and copyright are the principal forms of IP protection available to companies and individuals.

It is essential that you protect your trademarks in Morocco by applying for trademark protection with the Moroccan Office for Industrial and Commercial Property (OMPIC).

They can also provide detailed information on legislation regulating patents, trademarks and copyright.


Standards and technical regulations

Moroccan standards are regulated by the Moroccan Standards Institute (Institut Marocain de Normalisation).


Tax and customs considerations

The Moroccan customs authority regulates all goods imported into Morocco.

Tax rates depend upon a number of factors, including the type of goods and the country of origin.

All imported goods must be cleared with customs whether they are imported by road, air, sea or post. Most products can be imported without an import licence.

Imports face the following levies:

  • customs import duty which depends on the product
  • para-fiscal import tax of 0.25%
  • Value Added Tax (VAT) of 20% (rates of 7% and 14% apply to some products and services)
  • customs import duties can be reduced if the imported products are covered by free trade agreements or other specific regulatory dispositions



You will usually need to provide the following documents:

  • invoice
  • bill of landing
  • import or export documents
  • certificates of origin
  • banker’s certificate for customs clearance of imports
  • packing list


Business behaviour

Arabic and Tamazight are the official languages of Morocco, but the business language is French. Although an increasing number of business people can speak and read English, correspondence and literature should preferably be in French.

You should avoid visiting Morocco from July to August and during the month of Ramadan.


Entry requirements

You can travel to Morocco without a visa for up to three months. Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay in Morocco.

If you plan to work in Morocco you will need a work permit.


Travel advice

If you’re travelling to Morocco for business, check the travel advice beforehand.

Contact the Department for International Trade (DIT) team in Morocco for more information and advice on opportunities for doing business in Morocco.

The British Moroccan Business Centre focuses on support to British Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and ‘matchmaking’ between UK and Moroccan companies. It also offers flexible office space to UK companies doing business in or with Morocco.

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