World Bulletin/News Desk
The European Union began talks with Morocco on a free-trade deal on Friday, the EU's first in a planned series aimed at deepening trade ties with North African nations two years after a wave of Arab uprisings.
Trade between the EU and Morocco amounted to roughly 24 billion euros of goods in 2011, and the EU is keen to open up trade in the services sector.
Morocco is the largest recipient of European neighbourhood aid, money given to the EU's immediate periphery, with 580.5 million euros ($760 million) earmarked for 2011-2013, according to the European Commission.
"Smooth negotiations of the free-trade agreement are crucial because they serve as an example for other countries in the southern Mediterranean," said Marielle De Sarnez, a French member of the European Parliament.
"This agreement will also allow in the long term greater regional integration for the Maghreb countries."
Morocco's exports to the EU are mainly clothing, agricultural products and machinery.
The EU sold roughly 15 billion euros of goods to the North African country in 2011, with exports growing at roughly 5 percent a year from 2007-2011.Last Mod: 01 Mart 2013, 17:37