Regionalization and Globalization in the Modern World Economy: Perspectives on the Third World and Transitional Economies

By Alex E. Fernández Jilberto; André Mommen | Go to book overview

9

MOROCCO’S ECONOMY BETWEEN THE MAGHREB AND EUROPE

André Mommen

Je me pose soudain la question: la corruption est-elle un délit de droit commun ou un délit politique?

(Tahar Ben Jelloun 1994:133)

Morocco’s trade policies have, since 1983, developed in a direction progressively based on the principles of the multilateral trading system and reforms embarked upon in the 1980s have pushed Morocco to a new stage of development. Morocco’s government stands ready to throw open its markets to free trade from the rich north and to establish closer economic ties with its developing neighbours, especially oil-rich Algeria and some African countries south of the Sahara (Nigeria). Morocco’s location south of Europe has brought a number of comparisons with the relationship between the USA and Mexico. Today, the European Union (EU) absorbs about 65 per cent of Morocco’s exports and provides the country with about 54 per cent of its imports. This explains why the Moroccan government is negotiating the creation of a free trade area comprising the five Maghreb countries and the EU.

Morocco’s recent ‘economic successes’ are usually attributed to the country’s successful structural adjustment reforms implemented under the aegis of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. In this chapter we shall see that optimism about fast and successful export-oriented industrialization has to be tempered. Morocco is just like any other heavily indebted economy looking for export opportunities and just like any other developing country it was forced to leave its import-substituting industrialization (ISI) policies in order to embark upon Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) initiated by the World Bank. In 1993, for the first year, the country did not have recourse to the use of IMF resources, debt relief or other exceptional financing. Budgetary and monetary policies advised by the IMF prepared Morocco for fiscal, monetary and exchange rate reforms which in turn contributed to a deeper integration of the country in the world economy. Morocco was able in 1993 to establish the convertibility of the dirham for current account transactions. Opportunities offered by the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) are rather scarce while the impact of the EU on the AMU’s and

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