In November 2009, Morocco became the 42nd adherent to the OECD Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises in recognition of the country’s progress in investment policy reforms aimed at enhancing its international competitiveness and integration into the world economy.
Since the 1990s Morocco has been pursuing reforms that call for liberalising the economy through the progressive withdrawal of the state from economic activities, a broad programme of privatisation, and more openness to the outside world. The private sector and international investment are playing an essential role in this process, not only contributing financial resources but also helping to enhance the country’s competitiveness and facilitate its integration into the world economy. The Moroccan authorities have made great efforts to put in place an institutional, legal, economic and financial arsenal that is up to the task of creating a favourable investment climate. Morocco’s intention to adhere to the OECD Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises represents one of the objectives of the reform, confirming the country’s commitments to promote an open and transparent investment regime and responsible business conduct.
The Role of Foreign Direct Investment in Morocco's Economic Development
Until recently, foreign direct investment (FDI) in Morocco was growing significantly, reflecting the country’s solid economic performance and its ambitious privatisation programme. As a result, FDI has taken a greater role in the domestic economy and its geographical and sectoral structures have diversified. Faced with world economic crisis, Morocco has, however, seen its FDI inflows shrinking in 2008-2009. The entry of foreign investors has a positive impact on employment and labour skills and facilitates the expansion and internationalisation of Moroccan enterprises in which foreigners have shareholding interests.
Morocco's Adherence to the OECD Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises and Related Decisions and Recommendations
Morocco has achieved significant progress in liberalizing its investment regime making it more transparent and predictable. By consolidating these liberalization moves in the form of international undertakings, Morocco’s adherence to the OECD Declaration to International Investment and Multinational Enterprises represents a further stage in its reform process. Consistent with the provisions of the OECD Declaration, Morocco has notified its existing FDI restrictions under the National Treatment instrument. Morocco is also ready to fulfill the commitments resulting from the Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, which are an integral part of the OECD Declaration, notably to establish its National Contact Point within the recentlyinstituted Investment Development Agency.
Morocco's Policy Framework for Investment
As shown in the examination of Morocco’s investment policies under in the OECD Policy Framework for Investment, the authorities have adopted a series of laws and various regulatory and institutional mechanisms needed to improve the investment climate, including in the areas of trade and competition policies and infrastructure developments. The new Moroccan Investment Development Agency will be a focal point for setting up investment promotion strategy in close association with the private sector. The government has also undertaken several initiatives to ensure responsible business conduct in line with internationally recognized principles regarding labour rights, human rights, environmental protection and combating corruption.
Agricultural land: The acquisition of agricultural land by foreigners is not authorised. The acquisition of agricultural land located outside urban areas is permitted only for non-agricultural needs. Foreigners may lease agricultural land for up to 99 years.
This annex presents Morocco’s FDI regulatory restrictiveness index, based on the OECD methodology (see Box E.1), and its comparison with 41 countries that adhere to the OECD Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises.
Adherence to the OECD Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises implies acceptance of all its components as well as the related Decisions and Recommendations. The OECD Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises is a political agreement among adherent countries for co-operation on a wide range of investment issues. The Declaration contains four related elements: the National Treatment instrument, the Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, an instrument on Incentives and Disincentives to international investment, and an instrument on Conflicting Requirements. It is supplemented by legally binding Council Decisions on implementation procedures and by Recommendations to adherents to encourage pursuit of its objectives, notably with regard to National Treatment instrument.
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