First Published: 2005-01-12

 
Moroccan drug industry slams US free-trade deal
 

Industry official warns free-trade agreement with US will cause downfall of Morocco’s pharmaceutical industry.

 

Middle East Online

Moroccan pharmaceutical industry employs 30,000 people

RABAT - Morocco's pharmaceutical industry is at threat from a free trade agreement signed with the United States in August last year, an industry spokesman warned on Wednesday.

"The free-trade agreement with the United States will cause the downfall of this industry, the pride of our economy," Mohamed Rhaouti, president of the Council of the Order of Moroccan Pharmacists, said in an interview.

The Moroccan pharmaceutical industry employs 30,000 people including a fifth of managers, supplies 80 percent of the country's requirements and exports 10 percent of its production, he told Aujourd'hui Le Maroc newspaper.

"Citizens will be the first to suffer because access to far cheaper generic medecines will be delayed," he said, saying that imported US medecines would retail at high prices.

"If we increase prices, most people will never have access to medecines," he warned, saying that Moroccans currently spend just 450 million dollars per year on medecines, an average of 170 dirhams (17 dollars/13 euros) per person.

The Moroccan association for the fight against HIV/AIDS has also voiced concerns over the agreement, under which Rabat agreed to impose high penalties for intellectual property and trademark violations, could undermine access to cheap medecines.

The US-Moroccan agreement, which is due to be ratified by the Rabat parliament next week, calls for the elimination of customs tariffs on 95 percent of industrial and commercial goods.

It covers industrial and agricultural goods, intellectual property, services, customs, employment, the environment and telecommunications.

The north African nation is the United States' 73rd largest trade partner.

 

Yemen blockade 'killing' as many civilians as war

Palestinian baby killed in arson attack by Jewish settlers

EU urges Israel to show 'zero tolerance for settler violence'

Erdogan calls for early elections if no coalition

Cash-strapped Tunisia's Syphax airline grounds flights

Kurds in Diyarbakir fear return to war

State of emergency in Tunisia extended

Jerusalem Gay Pride attack suspect lashes out in court

'Kurdish Obama' faces his biggest test

Pentagon denies US-trained rebels captured in Syria

Morocco king calls for development of remote regions

Host of US celebrities endorses Iran nuclear deal

PKK braces for fight with Turkey in Iraq mountain bastions

Kurdish party chief dismisses Turkey anti-IS raids

Thomas Cook warns Tunisia attacks affect annual results

Three Al-Jazeera journalists await Egypt retrial verdict

Kuwait uncovers new IS cell

One Turkish police killed in attack blamed on PKK

Israel approves law allowing force feeding of prisoners

New sexist gaffe of Turkish deputy PM: 'As a woman, be quiet!

UN envoy invites Syrians to ‘thematic’ talks

Egypt's gift to the world: Suez Canal Axis

Pentagon to worried lawmakers: We will remain vigilant on Iran

Hamas calls for revolt against Palestinian Authority

ISIS claims deadly car bomb in Yemen capital

Allies tolerate Turkey's double game to boost IS fight

Somalia ‘making progress’ despite insecurity and election delay

Germany, Iraqi Kurds say Turkey should resume peace process

Syria skeptical about Turkey's intentions in fight against ISIS

Somalia indentifies hotel bomber as former German resident

US gets formal approval to use Incirlik air base in Turkey

Saudi policeman killed, 2 injured in attack

Israel PM approves 300 settler homes in occupied West Bank

Jordan jails 8 for "plotting a terrorist act"

Israel committed war crimes on 'Black Friday'

Israeli strike on Syrian town kills 5 pro-regime fighters

Yemen orders militia to merge with army

Erdogan heads for China for talks

France seeks to revive ties with Iran

Syria army, Kurds oust IS from Hasakeh city

Yemen truce has failed to take hold

Iran urged to free Washington Post journalist

UN aid chief calls for greater Syria access

Rebels gain ground near Syrian regime heartland

Cairo furniture factory fire kills 25