AmCham received a delegation of 20 students from the University of Washington, which is one of the preeminent public universities in the U.S., led by Professor Ruth A. Huwe, head of Department of Management and Organization.
As a part of their study abroad program these students came to Morocco to learn about the business environment, the U.S.-Morocco free trade agreement and explore the opportunities that the country has to offer for potential investors.
Students had very interesting questions that tackled the Moroccan economy and the entrepreneurial ecosystem as well as the ease of doing business. Such questions ranged from the ranking of Morocco in doing business, the time it takes to start or liquidate a business, the availability of financing and the responsiveness of the banking system, the importance of social responsibility programs of U.S. Companies in Morocco as well as the respect of the environment and IPR.
During this briefing, Rabia El Alama shared the AmCham’s perspective on doing business in Morocco, which is very positive. She stressed that thanks to the social and economic reforms, Morocco has developed into a “buzzing destination” for businesses, tourists, filmmakers including Hollywood, international events such as the global entrepreneurship summit and the Clinton global initiative.
In addition, Morocco has adopted an ‘emergence plan’ and invested in consistent sectoral strategies to accompany the reforms undertaken since the early 2000s, which helped accelerate the economy’s structural transformation and promote new industries, such as aeronautics and automobiles, which are now the drivers of growth and areas of innovation for the economy.
Morocco is also becoming a ‘regional hub’ for several companies willing to expand into African markets and the recent launch of the ‘Casablanca Finance City- CFC’ goes in the same direction. About 90 companies in the financial and professional services received CFC status. These companies will use Morocco as a regional hub for their operations.
In terms of economic indicators, Morocco has seen a steady growth over the past 10 years averaging over 4%. The 2014 economic growth stood at 2.7% and the projected growth for 2015 has been set at 2.6% with an inflation rate of 2%.
The business briefing was also an opportunity to explain the role of the AmCham in promoting the U.S.-Morocco FTA and attracting U.S. FDI to the country and the various services offered to the members and potential investors.
A Summary of AmCham Services
• Advocacy and Assistance with Business issues: AmCham Morocco advocates for major business environment issues faced by its members and work closely with the Moroccan and the U.S. Governments to improve the business climate for U.S. companies established in Morocco.
• Business Briefings and Testimonials: AmCham provides potential investors with key information on specific business sectors as well as live testimonials from AmCham members who testify on their specific experiences in Morocco – the challenges they faced and the paths to success in their various domains of expertise.
• Business Priority User for US Visas: The U.S. Consulate reserves ten slots (1st & 3rd Friday of the month) to AmCham members and their immediate families traveling on Business to the USA.
• Business Opportunities and Matchmaking:Members receive and submit business opportunities, such as offers to buy or sell products locally, requests for trade partners or investors, and notifications of import/export opportunities.
• Business Referrals:AmCham provides members with referrals necessary for international tenders and procurement.
• Committees: Much of the AmCham’s annual workload is accomplished through the following committees: US-Morocco Business Issues Committee, Corporate Social Responsibility Committee, Trade and investment Committee, Texas Committee, Events Committee and Door knocks to the U.S.A Committee. These committees provide a forum for AmCham members to raise issues about the business climate and draft position papers to solicit government action on issues such as IPR, taxes, custom duties, corruption, unfair competition, cross regional trade, education and human resources, and other concerns.
• CV Bank: The database has over 200 CVs of bilingual candidates interested in working or interning in an Anglophone environment.
• Discounts in Hotels, Restaurants, and other Businesses: AmCham members have special discounts on products and services offered by hotels, restaurants and other businesses.
• Events: AmCham hosts series of professional events including workshops, debates, and roundtables throughout the year. These events represent an excellent networking opportunity, and allow members and guests to listen to the views of prominent political and business speakers from the government, international agencies, and the private sector. Additionally, AmCham organizes fundraising events such as the annual gala ball and the Golf challenge.
• Export Incubator: offers training and B-to-B meetings with U.S. buyers for AmCham members interested in exporting to the USA.
• Information on U.S.-Morocco Trade and Investment: AmCham provides information on U.S. – Morocco Trade and Investment as well as latest news on market regulation from US FDA, USDA, EPA and other agencies.
• Promotional Opportunities: AmCham members corporate logos can be displayed on the AmCham website (www.amcham.ma) at an attractive price. Advertising opportunities are also available on the reverse of the membership card and the annual Directory.
• AmCham annual awards: AmCham gives annual award to reward its members, such awards include:
• Corporate Social Responsibility Award (CSR Award): This award recognizes AmCham member companies of all sizes for their appreciation of the values of good corporate citizenship, as well as to inspire all members to reach the level of excellence within their communities.
• Hall of Fame Award:rewards Moroccan and American personalities who make significant contributions to promoting and developing US-Morocco relations.
• AmCham Trade and investment award (AMATIA Award): This award recognizes American and Moroccan businesses that have succeeded in bilateral trade and/or investment through well-designed and innovative strategies while demonstrating good corporate citizenship.