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Tunisia on The Verge of Filing Suit Against Morocco at The WTO

Tunis is in the process of filing a second complaint against Morocco at the WTO, concerning their disagreement on the conditions of export of Tunisian school notebooks to the Kingdom of Morocco. This is what the Tunisian Minister of Commerce said today, saying his country is determined to defend its interests.

In the same vein as its first complaint, filed on 5 July with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against Morocco, and concerning the litigation on school notebooks, Tunisia is about to file a second to challenge the anti-dumping tax that should be implemented shortly by the Moroccan government, with the aim of restricting Tunisian exports to the kingdom in this sector. This is what said Omar Behi, the Tunisian Minister of Commerce.

“We are determined to continue the process. The anti-dumping investigation against school notebooks should not be opened”, said the minister. “There was no dumping or damage”, he continued.

In the complaint lodged on 5 July with the WTO, while affirming that Tunisia is at the origin of 90% of the Moroccan imports of school notebooks, and that these are sold more expensive than those produced locally in Morocco, the Tunisian Ministry of Commerce had sought to settle the problem amicably between the two countries.

However, following the filing of this first complaint that asked the WTO to demand of Rabat “respect for the right to competition”, Mustapha El Khalfi, the spokesman of the Moroccan government, said on 12 July, that his country had the right to protect its national companies.

While denouncing the fact that the Tunisian State subsidizes 20% of the country’s companies active in the production of notebooks, allowing them to sell their production in Morocco at unbeatable prices, Mr. El Khalfi said that “we can not let Moroccan companies perish by drowning”. “Morocco is ready to commit to any path that can defend them”, he said.

In this context, the investigations carried out by the Moroccan side as part of the anti-dumping investigation, which ended in November, should lead to the introduction of an anti-dumping tax. The formalization would be done immediately by a ministerial decree.

As a reminder, if this new complaint from Tunisia to the WTO is unsuccessful, the commercial dispute between these two Maghreb countries will be the subject of international arbitration.

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