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Morocco remains the EU’s leading exporter of fresh tomatoes

Morocco remains the number one provider of fresh tomatoes to the European Union (EU), according to the EU Agricultural Outlook 3021-2031.

Per the outlook, Morocco’s imports of tomatoes are posing strong competition to Spanish produce given the decline in Spanish winter production and the shift to small-size tomatoes.

Compared to Moroccan tomatoes, Spanish ones have lower volume and value-Added Tax (VAT), the outlook shows. It further specifies that the EU’s imports of fresh produce from Turkey and Tunisia are due to a gradual increase in the 10-year outlook.

The EU is Morocco’s largest trading partner, with good trade set at 56% in 2019, and almost half of Morocco’s imports came from the EU in the same year.

The total figure of the EU-Morocco trade in goods stood at €35.3 billion in 2019. Morocco’s exports to the EU, set at €15.2 billion, consisting mainly of electrical machinery and transport equipment (40.8%), 16.2% of agri-food, and a combined 15.1% of textile and clothing.

Morocco entered into a Free Trade Area agreement with the EU in 1996. Morocco-EU trade in industrial products became fully liberalized (unhinged by tariffs) under the agreement.

Despite robust imports, Morocco still suffers from a large trade deficit that was made worse as a result of the economic fallout of the COVID-19.

Over the first 10 months of 2021, the country’s trade gap widened by a 25.5% year-to-year rate. The spike was caused by increased imports (which went up by 22%), dwarfing the modest increase in exports that increased at an annual rate of 20.7%, according to Morocco’s Exchange Office.

Offset by rising prices of energy and capital goods amid COVID-induced disruptions worldwide, Morocco’s trade deficit is forecasted to gradually decrease at the end of 2021.

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