Morocco has asked Turkish retailer BİM to raise the proportion of local goods it sells in the country to at least half or face a shutdown, the trade minister said late on Monday.
The North African kingdom is reviewing a free trade deal it struck with Turkey in 2004, but which it now views as responsible for part of its $2 billion trade deficit with the country.
The Turkish chain “invests in Morocco with Turkish support and wherever they open, 60 Moroccan shops get closed,” Trade Minister Moulay Hafid Elalamy told members of parliament.
CFO: BİM sources 85% of goods from Morocco for its stores there
Haluk Dortluoğlu, company chief financial officer, said Wednesday BİM procures most goods sold in its stores in Morocco come from local sources.
“We source only around 15% of our products sold in Morocco from Turkey. The rest, 85% are bought from local producers,” Dortluoğlu told Reuters Wednesday.
Minister of Industry, Trade, Investment and Digital Economy Moulay Hafid Elalamy told a parliament session that his country has informed Ankara on its losses over an imbalance in the agreement’s clauses.
He said the Kingdom would unilaterally withdraw from the deal unless Turkey provides a solution that does not harm Morocco’s interests.
Elalamy explained that a comprehensive study of all the free trade agreements concluded by Morocco showed a deficit in its trade with three main partners, namely Europe, the US and Turkey.
He pointed out, however, that the deficit caused by the Moroccan-Turkish free trade deal comes amid a lack in Turkish investments in Morocco.
The Kingdom considers the free trade deal it struck with Turkey in 2004 as responsible for part of its $1.2 billion trade deficit with the country.
Elalamy indicated that the volume of Turkish investments in Morocco do not exceed one percent.
The minister stressed that the dispute between Morocco and Turkey is “commercial” and mainly focused on textiles, noting that the number of jobs lost by Morocco in this sector amounted to 19,000 in 2014, 24,000 in 2015, 35,000 in 2016 and 44,000 in 2017.
The deficit with Europe is around 77 billion dirhams annually ($8.11 billion), Elalamy stressed, attributing it to the import of fuels (more than 20 billion dirhams; $2.1 billion) and cars (more than 18 billion dirhams; $1.9 billion).
Morocco, meanwhile, exports 60 billion dirhams ($6.32 billion) worth of cars to Europe.
European Union investment represents more than 71 percent of the volume of foreign investments in Morocco, he added, pointing out that the support provided by EU countries to Morocco has amounted to about $2 billion between 2014 and 2020.
Regarding the trade exchange agreement with the US, Elalamy revealed that the deficit amounted to 20 billion dirhams ($2.11 billion), of which 15 billion dirhams ($1.6 billion) are allocated for hydrocarbons and 3.5 billion dirhams ($368 million) to purchase Boeing aircraft.
US investments in Morocco reached six percent of the total foreign investments, while US support for the Kingdom stood at $1.2 billion.