Agricultural trade is the responsibility of three bilateral agricultural agreements negotiated between the EFTA state (Iceland, Norway and Switzerland/Liechtenstein) and Morocco. They provide for significant concessions on both sides, taking into account the respective sensitivities. Each agreement contains specific rules of origin, usually based on “fully preserved” criteria. Intellectual property protection provisions include, among other things, patents, trademarks, copyrights and geographical indications. The level of protection in some areas goes beyond the level of protection established by the WTO agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual property, taking into account the principles of treatment of the most favoured nation and national treatment. In 2004, Morocco signed the Agadir Agreement with Jordan, Egypt and Tunisia. This has forced all parties to remove all tariffs on trade between them and to harmonize their legislation on customs standards and procedures. The Agadir agreement came into force in July 2006 and is implemented by the Agadir technical unit in Amman. The agreement with Morocco was designed to take into account the different levels of economic development by providing for an asymmetrical approach. While EFTA states lifted their tariffs and quantitative restrictions on imports or exports from Morocco and measures of equivalent effect when the agreement came into force, Morocco was allowed to allow them to expire for an extended transitional period, leaving time to adapt its economy to free trade conditions. This phase of operation is completed on December 1, 2011.
In addition, each EFTA state has a separate agreement with Morocco on agricultural products. These bilateral agreements are part of the instruments for the creation of the free trade area between the EFTA countries and Morocco. As part of their Association Agreement, which came into force in March 2000, the EU and Morocco created a free trade area for the liberalisation of trade in both directions. They then developed the free trade agreement through an agreement on trade in agricultural, agri-food and fisheries products and a protocol establishing a bilateral dispute settlement mechanism, which came into force in 2012. The agreement contains provisions relating to the elimination of tariffs and other trade barriers, as well as other trade-related disciplines, such as competition rules, intellectual property protection, public procurement, state monopolies, subsidies, arbitration procedures and payments and transfers. However, specific structural adjustment provisions allow Morocco to introduce, where appropriate, temporary measures to protect small industries and sectors in restructuring or in difficulty, particularly when these difficulties lead to significant social problems. The institutional provisions provide for the establishment of a joint committee to monitor the agreement. The overall aim of the negotiations is to create new trade and investment opportunities and to ensure better integration of the Moroccan economy into the EU internal market.