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.

 

Cameron chairs emergency meeting over British hostage beheading

Around 930 French citizens or residents involved 'in jihad' in Iraq, Syria

Qatar starts to curb Brotherhood’s activities

Mali separatists agree to speak with one voice

UEFA urged not to award 2020 European Championship to Israel

Israel sees future war with Hezbollah

Germany tries first 'Islamic State jihadist'

Egypt court bails top 2011 revolt activist

Iran rejected US request to cooperate against IS

Iran ridicules anti-jihadist international conference

Egypt textile factory collapse kills six

Coalition meets in Paris to plan fight against IS

Yemen rebels, officials to meet with UN to end standoff

Qatar-based Egypt's Brotherhood leaders to relocate

Hollande defends arming Kurds against IS

43 Israeli soldiers condemn 'abuses' of Palestinians

Egypt urged to free more than 20 demonstrators

Turkey’s internet censored further

Tunisia Islamists clash with police in protest

10 Arab states agree to 'share' US-led fight against IS

Obama awaits Congress approval of Syria rebel aid

Hollande in Iraq to back new government

Lebanon to set up refugee camps along border with Syria

Russia slams unilateral US airstrikes on jihadists in Syria

Four Qaeda suspects in Yemen drone attack

Meshaal: Hamas may hold direct talk with Israel

UN Syria envoy says world must confront terrorist groups

Turkey refuses to allow US-led coalition to hit IS from its air bases

Yemen president, Shiite rebels reach deal

EU warns Gaza violence could re-ignite within 'months'

Thani denies UAE, Egypt conducted air strikes in Libya

Obama: We will destroy ISIL in Syria and Iraq

Beirut urges 'common front' against IS 'monsters'

Obama to steel Americans for long battle against IS

Turkish prosecutor demands life sentences for protesting soccer fans

Rich Gulf urged to pump billions into 'Arab Marshall Plan'

28 Syria rebel leaders killed in blast targeting meeting

Britain to ship machine guns to Iraqi Kurds

Rich nations, it is your duty to accept Syrian refugees

Senior Sudan opposition figure released

Germany blasts Salafist 'Sharia Police' patrols

Rebranding is Qaeda’s new marketing strategy

Is multi-cultural France losing it?

Tunisia urges foreign investment in democratic ‘startup’

Iraq MPs approve new cabinet, but key posts unfilled