Mediterranean Agricultural Product Trade between the EU and Morocco in the Perspective of the New Bilateral Agreement: Main Causes of Imbalance and Possible Effects
In this article the possible repercussions of the new bilateral trade agreement between Morocco and the European Union concerning the fruit and vegetable sector have been examined. Through appropriate mathematical indices, such as the â€œrevealed comparative advantageâ€ (RCA) approach pioneered by Balassa, the competitive position of Morocco over its trading partners in the EU and especially over the Mediterranean Member States has been evaluated. The aim is to discover fea- tures of trade of Morocco and the EU in the fruit and vegetable sector, and changes during the period 2000 - 2010. In particular, the effects of the new bilateral trade agreement on EU countries such as Italy, Spain and France, i.e., the traditional producers of these goods, have been examined. RCA of Morocco over the EU and RCA of the EU over Morocco have been calculated by conducting research using UN Comtrade sources. Moreover, through the â€œrevealed trade advantageâ€ (RTA) introduced by Vollrath, the global competitiveness of the fruit and vegetables sector in both Morocco and the EU have been evaluated.Finally, the degree of intra-industry trade between Morocco and the major European producers of fruit and vegetables has been calculated. The results highlight the strong dominance of Morocco, and point to the possibility that the new bilateral trade agreement may cause an increase in economic instability in many European areas struggling against Moroccan competition in certain agricultural sectors. In countering this situation, questions concerning agrifood safety, agri-environmental protection and other aspects could become relevant in the near future. The importance of these questions is that they may point to the comparatively low levels of restrictions often faced by the Moroccan producers as the real cause of their actual competitive advantage in some strategic European agri-food sectors. Despite the limitations of RCA indices obtained in this study, they are expected to offer further insight into the competitiveness of the Moroccan fruit and vegetables sector and its implications for trade with the EU in the near future.
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