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.

 

Syria regime, Kurds blast Turkish incursion

Kerry heads to Saudi on Yemen peace push

Libya parliament rejects Sarraj’s unity government

Hajj stoning to be shortened after deadly stampede

Muslim women say swimsuit uproar is 'absurd'

Syria rebels backed by Turkey tanks 'seize' Jarabulus

Libya's presidential council to present new cabinet

Biden: Washington told Kurds not to cross Euphrates

Israeli court shuns plea to unchain Palestinian hunger striker

Saudi police foil mosque suicide bombing

Kerry to meet Russia's Lavrov in Geneva on Friday

Kurdish forces in Syria prime target for Turkey

Drone strike kills 2 Qaeda suspects in Yemen

Iran yet to decide on OPEC limits

Iraq forces advance south of Mosul

Gaza animals leave 'world's worst' zoo

Hasakeh: key flashpoint for Syria regime, Kurds

British woman killed in Australian stabbing

Turkey launches operation to clear Syria border town from IS

Israel raids West Bank arms factories

Morocco posts fall in foreign tourist arrivals

Turkey cuts interest rates defying inflation jump

Syria regime, Kurds agree Hasakeh truce

Iran says it requested Russian strikes on Aleppo

Turkey shells IS positions in Syria

UN braces for massive flight from Mosul

Sudanese migrant killed in Calais clashes

Palestinian suspect in police killings beaten to death

Iraq forces launch push to retake town south of Mosul

UN aid chief warns of 'unparalleled' catastrophe in Aleppo

Prominent Morocco Islamists rapped over 'sex on beach'

Yemen army looks to break Taez siege amid deadly battles

Jordan to allow more Syrian children access to education

Tunisia parliament sets date for unity government vote

Iraq forces foil attack by teenage bomber

Israel launches 'dozens' of Gaza strikes

Russian stops using Iran airbase for raids on IS in Syria

Turkey says Syria border region must be 'cleansed' of IS jihadists

Turkey authorities scramble to identify child bomber

Libya forces seize more IS ground in Sirte

Sisi says Putin ready to revive Palestine/Israel talks

Jihadist asks Malians for 'forgiveness' for Timbuktu attacks

Iran criticize Russia’s ‘show off’ on airbase use

Ennahda 'has reservations' on Tunisia unity govt

In sharp reversal, Trump pitches softer line on immigration