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Import regulations and customs duties  - Distribution - Transportation of goods - Standards - Patents and brands

Import regulations and customs duties

Import is regulated by the annually revised General Program of Imports (GPI).
To be able to import in Morocco, as well as setting up an office there, a preliminary registration in the External Trade Operators' File is necessary. This file allows to obtain a card or title of import delivered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Co-operation. It is compulsory for any "free" import to sign a "commitment of import" (entitled "Commitment of import, Import license, Preliminary Import Declaration"), valid for 6 months from the date of signature. This document must be produced in 5 copies, and should be accompanied with 5 copies of the Proforma Invoice. This commitment should be made with a bank that can be chosen by the importer.
Some products need an import license, valid for 6 months from the date of signature (list below). It has to be handed in, along with a proforma invoice in 5 copies, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Co-operation, in charge of issuing the license after consultation with the concerned Ministry.
Furthermore, Morocco has a specific legislation that enables to classify certain products which could cause or threaten to cause a damage to the indigenous production. This legislation enables Morocco to submit these products to a Preliminary Import Declaration (emergency measure able to touch massive imports, import of subsidised products, or products suspected of dumping). This exceptional measure runs for 9 months and is renewable once. It is valid for 3 months from the date of signature.

ProductBeing subjected to controlLicenseCertificate correspondence to the standardsEnjoyment(approval)
Powders and explosivesX
Second-hand clothes shop X
Being diverted halogens of the hydrocarbons X
Worn tyres(pneumatics)X
Manufactured goodsX
Animal productsX
Vegetables and plant productsX
Pharmaceutical productsX


Customs duties
Morocco applies the Harmonised Customs System. Customs duties are calculated Ad valorem on the CIF value of the goods. The department responsible is the Customs and Excise Department.


Import taxes
Besides customs duty, there are other two main taxes to import to Morocco.
The PFI (Prélevement Fiscal d' Importation): general rate of 15% on the customs value of the goods (exception: some farm products,  7.5% and pharmaceutical products, 12.5%).
The additional levy tax: 0.25% on imports


Regulations governing payments
Imports benefit from the regime of free convertibility of the current operations. To domicile the exporter in a bank favours import commitments and enables the payment of purchases.
Within the framework of capital goods imports, it is possible to settle deposits reaching 40% of the amount of the operation. The prepayment is authorised for some products within the limits of the exchange value of 20,000 DH.


The distribution market in Morocco started to develop rapidly from the 1990's. Nevertheless, small traditional stores remain the mainstay of retail sales. In 2004, the distribution market represented 12.9% of the country's GDP.

The Business to Consumer (B to C) market
Distribution, especially in the food sector, is primarily the domain of small family owned wholesale companies with low operating costs, earning commissions in the range of 3 - 4%. Such companies are mainly located in Casablanca and other big cities. Certain products (like tobacco) are under State control, while others, such as cement, are not. Cement production in the country is controlled by 3 main groups:
- CIOR (Holderbank),
- Lafarge Maroc,
- Ciments du Maroc.
Cement sales and marketing are carried out either directly by these companies, or through wholesale dealers.
Retail distribution, generally independent and specialized, is characterized by very heterogeneous structures where small family stores dominate. Chain stores have recently opened in cities like Casablanca, Rabat, Marrakech and in a few other big cities, and they represented around 10% of sales in 2003. The principal players are:
- Cofarma (Marjane): a joint-venture between l'ONA (Omnium Nord Africain) and Auchan. This group realized a turnover of 260 million euros in 2004.
- Acima: supermarket chain created in 2002 by Auchan and ONA.
- Aswak Assalam : a Moroccan brand, which created a franchise system with the Casino group.
These groups mainly sell local products ( 70% to 80% of their products are locally made).
The specialized retail market has developed successively: next to furniture and electrical home appliances, the DIY sector is experiencing rapid growth. In 2004, 3 French companies sought to set up in Morocco:
- Domaxel.
- Mr Bricolage.
- Bricorama.

The Business to Business (B to B) market
Foreign companies that want to sell their products in Morocco usually use an agent or an importing distributor. Personal contacts play an important role and commercial distribution continues to be traditional and conservative. Agency contracts are governed by articles 393 and 404 of the new Code of Commerce (Law 1 n 96-83). The franchise system has developed very slowly in the country. There were 164 franchises and 709 retail outlets in 2003. France is the main country-of-origin for franchise networks with 49% of all franchises. The franchise system is governed by article 230 of the right of contractual obligations.

Domestic trade accounts for 14.1% of the active population of the country and constitutes 12-13% of the country's GDP. Increased pressure on taxes along with an increase in the number commercial intermediaries has resulted in an increase in the final consumer price.

Casablanca hosts several trade fairs and exhibitions and these are generally organized by the Office of Fairs and Exhibitions (OFEC).


Transportation of goods

By road
As on 1 -1-99, the network consisted of 57,221 km of roads out of which 32,049 km were dressed and under acceptable conditions; the others are mainly tracks. There are four highways: one connecting Casablanca to Rabat (90 km), one connecting Rabat - Larache - Sidi Al Yamani (168 km) and the other one connecting Rabat and Fes (182 km). A highway between Rabat and Setta (57 km) is completed to the extent of 85%.
80% of the cargo traffic and 95% of the passenger traffic is handled by road transport.

By rail
The network consists of 1,907 km out of which 1,003 km are electrified and 281 km of double track. The public company National Office of Railroads (O.N.C.F) is responsible for the operation of the network. The rail network connects the main cities and ports of the country. It is necessary to distinguish the TNR service (Fast Shuttle Train) which connects Casablanca and Rabat to Kenitra in 50 minutes several times a day. A rail connection exists between the Mohammed V airport and the cities of Casablanca and Rabat.

By sea
The nine main ports of the country, managed by the Ports Exploitation Office, (ODEP) and from where 95% of the Moroccan traffic passes, are Casablanca (big installations for containers), Agadir, Tangier, Safi, Kenitra, Jorf Lasfar, Nador, Mohammedia and Dakhla. The main export of phosphates is handled by the ports of Casablanca, Safi and Jorf Lasfar.

By air
There are 10 big airports and three of them handle 80% of the total passengers traffic: Casablanca (Mohammed V), Agadir and Marrakech. The fourth most important is Nador. The airline company is Royal Air Morocco, which is being partially privatised.


The National Service of Standardisation of the Moroccan Industry (SNIMA), depending on the Ministry of Trade and Industry, is the body in charge of co-ordinating the works of normalisation in the national environment(middle). More than 500 national standards are presently in force, mainly in the metallurgical, construction and the packaging sector. The Moroccan Institute of Packaging and Conditioning (IMEC) is responsible for maintaining standards of conditioning and packaging. The ministries of Agriculture and Health control farm products and products meant for human consumption. Sanitary regulations apply to the import of food. Morocco is member of the International Standardisation Organisation (ISO).

Patents and brands

Texts currently applying to patents/brands

  Text Date entered into law Period of validity Comment
Patent OMPIC Paris convention 20 years
Trademark Madrid and La Haye agreements 20 years renewable
Design La Haye agreement 25 years renewable


Last modified in 2006 - ongoing update
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