Does a free trade area favors an optimum currency area? The Case of Morocco and the European Union
The purpose of this paper is to investigate simultaneously the potential effects of European Union's Association Agreement with Morocco and the adoption of the Euro as a single currency on exchange rate regime of Moroccan Dirham. Since Morocco depends heavily on EU as a market for its exports and a source for its imports, limited variability of the DH against the Euro seems à priori, to be an appropriate policy option. This option may even be strengthened within the FTA. However, the nature and the composition of Moroccan exports are typical of North-South trade with little diversification and high concentration on textiles and agricultural products. From this perspective, the risk of asymmetric shocks is more likely, which reduces the expected gains from nominal anchorage. This paper aims at contributing to the future exchange rate regime in Morocco and focuses on three main issues. The first issue is to investigate the potential effects of the FTA on trade structure and industrial specialization in Morocco. To this end, a computable general equilibrium model is used to simulate macroeconomic and sectoral effects of the implementation of the FTA on industrial sector. The second issue is to estimate the real exchange rate equilibrium based on macroeconomic fundamentals and assess the degree of misalignment of the actual value of the Dirham. Finally, the question of exchange rate arrangement is examined by combining the expected effects of free trade area between Morocco and the European Union, the existing degree of misalignment of the Dirham, and considering the adoption of the Euro as a single currency in 12 European countries. Our results seem to suggest that the implementation of a FTA may lead to a reallocation of industrial production toward an even more specialization in labor-intensive products. Under such circumstances, the symmetry of shocks, as an important condition for anchoring the DH to the Euro, is not satisfied making this option non-desirable.
|Date of creation:||14 Dec 2005|
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