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 war hopes to stop ‘Iran expansion’ in Arab region

Brief truce between Syria regime and rebels collapses

Deadly terrorist blast rocks Karanah suburb in Bahrain

Mounting death toll of security forces triggers questions in Turkey

Toll in Libya shipwreck tragedy rises to 111

Kurdish forces free seven Iraq villages from clasps of ISIS

Egypt court hands Al-Jazeera reporters three years in prison

UN to host new round of Libya peace talks next week

US names ‘First Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs’

Al-Qaeda lashes 10 in Yemen for blasphemy, alcohol

Turkey PM to form cabinet ahead of November polls

Iraq PM orders forces to prepare to open Green Zone

71 'Syrians' dead in Austria truck tragedy

UN conference on plight of minorities persecuted by IS

Spain judge accuses suspect of running IS Morocco network

Yemen army recruits 4,800 southern fighters

Israel to use agriculture to win friends in Africa

Syrian refugees desert Middle East for Europe

At least 76 die as boat sinks off Libya

UN pursues Syria chemical weapons probe

US says IS cyber jihadist killed in Syria strike

Iran premieres big-budget epic film 'Muhammad'

S.Sudan govt calls peace deal 'reward for rebellion'

Serbia, Macedonia urge EU action on migrants

South Sudan peace deal given cautious welcome

Two Iraqi generals in Anbar suicide bomb attack

IS seizes five villages from rebels in Syria's Aleppo

Syria regime, rebels agree new 48-hour truce for three towns

Shebab gunmen ambush Somali army convoy

Iraq PM plans to implement constitutional reform

Muslims not doing enough to fight IS: Queen Rania

Lebanon charges radical Islamist Al-Assir with 'terrorism'

Qaeda group blows up Yemen army HQ in Mukalla

Palestinian rivals agree ceasefire in Lebanon camp

New migrant tragedy in Mediterranean: 40 people dead, 2,000 in danger

Tehran's shoe-shine man in a red stiletto

Saudi King to meet Obama next month on first trip to US as monarch

Turkey PM invites pro-Kurdish MPs into caretaker cabinet

Car bomb attack kills Syria opposition commander in Turkey

Arab League postpones meeting on joint military force

Erdogan sends clear message to voters: It’s either AKP or instability!

South Sudan leader meets regional leaders ahead of peace deal

Saudi Arabia ‘holding’ key suspect in 1996 Khobar bombing

Israel releases second group of migrants from desert facility

US military may have skewed reports on progress against ISIS