Morocco Hosts Conference on Digitalisation of Foreign Trade in Casablanca

Morocco is hosting a pivotal conference on the digitalisation of foreign trade at the Casablanca Hotel. The event is supported by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), ICC Morocco, ICC Digital Standards Initiative, and the T3i Partner Network.

Maghraoui Said, Director of Defence and Commercial Regulation, highlighted Morocco’s integration into the global economy, noting that foreign trade constitutes up to 100% of the country’s GDP. Said remarked, “Digitalisation of trade procedures is critical to reducing costs and increasing transparency, which is crucial for Morocco’s economic development.”

Morocco has implemented numerous free trade agreements (FTAs) with over 100 countries, including the United States, the European Union, Turkey, and several Arab and African nations, covering a population of 2.3 billion people. Despite substantial progress in digitalising customs and maritime procedures, challenges remain in achieving complete digitalisation, particularly in the legal recognition of digital documents.

Said emphasised that while removing tariff and non-tariff barriers is crucial, trade facilitation measures, particularly digitalisation, are equally vital. World Bank statistics indicate that trade facilitation could reduce transaction costs by 14%, while increasing transparency and reducing corruption.

The conference features sessions such as an economic rationale for digital trade by Zsoka Koczan, Lead Economist at EBRD, discussing the opportunities for countries like Morocco to diversify their supply chains and establish new trade linkages. Koczan said, “Investments in digital infrastructure and skills are crucial for Morocco to leverage its comparative advantages, such as a young, dynamic labour force and relatively low labour costs.”

Othmane Saadani, partner at Saadani & Associates, will lead a discussion on the legal framework for trade digitalisation in Morocco, emphasising the need to adopt laws aligned with the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (MLETR).

A panel moderated by Farah Lahbib, Director of Credit Management and Trade Finance at OCP, will explore the current state of digitalisation in Morocco, with panellists including Youssef Ahouzi, CEO of PortNet, and Rhita Benotmane, Director at the Digital Development Agency. Discussions will also cover international initiatives and standardisation in trade digitalisation, moderated by André Casterman, Founder of Casterman Advisory and Chair of the Fintech Committee at ITFA.

Notable panellists include Emmanuelle Butaud-Stubbs from ICC France, Pamela Mar from the ICC Digital Standards Initiative, and Philippe Henry, Senior Advisor at Paris Europlace. The EBRD’s initiative for trade digitalisation in Turkey will be presented by Meral Sengöz, with closing remarks from Catherine Bridge Zoller of the EBRD’s Legal Transition Programme.

Trade Finance Global (TFG) is delighted to be the media partner of this event, providing coverage and insights into efforts to digitalise trade across Morocco.

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