Rabat, Morocco (PortSEurope) June 10, 2020 – Rabat has reportedly begun building an economic zone in Fnideq, a city near the border with the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, on the Mediterranean Sea coastline. Morocco is already taking concrete steps to create an economic alternative in the northern border area with the Spanish city of Ceuta, after ending the smuggling of goods from that city last
October, tolerated for decades and giving direct work to 9,000 people. The zone has an initial area of 10 hectares and is set to eventually cover 90 hectares. The area will consist of a series of customs warehouses that will receive the wholesale merchandise from the nearby Tanger Med port. Morocco aims to finish the construction works within a year. The warehouses will receive shipments of food and textile products that constitute most of the commodities smuggled from Ceuta. The economic zone will have the characteristics of a free zone and an area dedicated to the conditioning and labelling of wholesale products. Leisure activities such as green spaces, shops, cafes, and restaurants will also feature. The current stage of the project is limited to land levelling and road infrastructure planning, which required an investment of $9.43 million. Moroccan authorities said the illegal import of goods from Ceuta costs Morocco a tremendous amount of money that could be generated through paying taxation fees. In February 2019, the Director-General of the Moroccan Administration of Customs and Indirect Taxation, Nabyl Lakhdar, estimated the value of the products entering Morocco through the Ceuta border ranges between €550 million to €730 million. The figures are ten times more than Ceuta’s legal exports to Morocco, estimated at €47 million. Despite the suspension of smuggling, Morocco continued to receive complaints in 2020 from trade operators who decried the “unfair competition” that arises due to the flow of goods from Ceuta and Melilla. Copyright (C) PortSEurope. All Rights Reserved. 2020.
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