Morocco Market Entry

Morocco Market Entry

Subchapters:

  • Market entry
  • Forms and conditions of operation on the market
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Issues of intellectual property protection
  • Public procurement market
  • Payment terms, payment ethics and resolution of commercial disputes
  • Visas, fees, specific conditions of travel to the territory
  • Employment of citizens from the Czech Republic
  • Fairs and events

Market entry

Foreign goods are imported to Morocco mainly via Casablanca or Tangier by companies that often ensure their further distribution to state or private sellers and distributors. Moroccan distribution networks are developing dynamically, but small traditional shops still predominate. Wholesale networks (of mixed goods) have appeared only in the last few years and their dynamism is considerable – their market share is currently around 13%. In the area of ​​general sales, there are 7 wholesale companies (the largest of which is the Marjane chain). Gradually, specialized wholesalers for furniture, electrical appliances and hobby markets are also emerging. Foreign chains are also coming – in 2016, for example, the Swedish IKEA entered the Moroccan market. The Moroccan market is relatively well stocked – it is very difficult to find goods that are missing here. The same principle applies here for many North African countries. To enter the market, it is important to have a verified and high-quality local representative. Before the very start of exporting or investing in the territory, it is not out of place to invest in market research and use the services of proven consulting firms. For initial contact with Morocco and the export potential, it is also advisable to use the services offered by the Czech Embassy in Rabat or the services of PaulTrade in Casablanca. From 2019, it is also possible to use the services of the PROPEA program in Morocco, which is implemented by a local entity. A portal has been set up in Morocco for foreign investors Before the very start of exporting or investing in the territory, it is not out of place to invest in market research and use the services of proven consulting firms. For initial contact with Morocco and the export potential, it is also advisable to use the services offered by the Czech Embassy in Rabat or the services of PaulTrade in Casablanca. From 2019, it is also possible to use the services of the PROPEA program in Morocco, which is implemented by a local entity. A portal has been set up in Morocco for foreign investors Before the very start of exporting or investing in the territory, it is not out of place to invest in market research and use the services of proven consulting firms. For initial contact with Morocco and the export potential, it is also advisable to use the services offered by the Czech Embassy in Rabat or the services of PaulTrade in Casablanca. From 2019, it is also possible to use the services of the PROPEA program in Morocco, which is implemented by a local entity. A portal has been set up in Morocco for foreign investors http://www.invest.gov.ma/ public contracts and tenders can then be searched using the platform that can be downloaded from the portal http://www.maroc.ma/en/electronic-services/public-tenders-alert-service . Check smber for agriculture and fishing facts of Morocco.

When entering the market, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the customs regulations. Basic information can be found on the website of the Moroccan customs administration https://www.douane.gov.ma/

Forms and conditions of operation on the market

There are four different forms of companies in Morocco.

Société à Responsabilité Limitée SARL (private limited company) – similar to our s.r.o. The share capital is a maximum of 10,000 MAD. It can have a maximum of fifty companions.

Société anonyme, SA (public limited company) – similar to a Czech joint-stock company. The share capital is either 300,000 MAD in the case of a classic joint-stock company. In the case of a company whose shares are traded on the stock exchange, the share capital is set at 3,000,000 MAD. The minimum number of partners is five. The maximum is not specified.

Société en nom collectif, SNC (Partnership) – similar to VOS It must have at least two partners. It does not have a fixed share capital.

Société en Commandite Simple, SCS (Limited Partnership) – similar to a limited partnership in the Czech Republic. A minimum of two partners and the basic capital is set at a minimum of 10,000 MAD.

When setting up a company in Morocco, it is recommended to use the services of a local entity that has experience with such a process. It is not a complicated process. It is also necessary to set up a bank account with a Moroccan bank. Establish company name, registered office and pay administrative fees. It is a good idea to get information at the Regional Investment Centers, e.g. https://www.casainvest.ma/

For the year 2022, it is also possible to use the PROPEA project for this service, which was launched in Morocco this year and is implemented by a local entity. Possibility to consult the plan with the embassy in Rabat.

Marketing and communication

Marketing should avoid sensitive topics related to culture, religion and politics.

Promotional materials and technical documentation for the offered products should be prepared in French or Arabic – knowledge of English is not very widespread. Simple instructions in the French language, product demonstrations, provision of samples and personal visits to the distributor are essential for successful sales in Morocco. It is advisable to provide service through trained local technicians, especially for consumer goods.

The most suitable form of presentation of goods in Morocco is thoroughly prepared participation in a specialized fair, preferably in the economic and commercial center of the country – Casablanca. Fairs are mainly organized here by the Office des faires et expositions de Casablanca (ofec.ma). The representative office of the Czech Republic in Rabat or the PaulTrade office in Casablanca are willing to help with a special presentation of Czech companies in Morocco.

There are a number of advertising agencies in Morocco. Media advertising is relatively well developed, especially in newspapers and magazines. Among the main newspapers published in Morocco in French are Le Matin, L’Opinion, L’Economiste, and the economic weekly La Vie Eco. Internet servers are also widespread in Morocco, where it is also possible to introduce the company. Advertising through short text messages and emails is also developing.

In recent years, there is also a noticeable trend in the use of social media. A number of managers and businessmen have profiles on the LinkedIn professional network, where they can also quite successfully promote their services, activities or products.

You can successfully present yourself on Instagram in Morocco. A number of local, especially smaller, companies have Instagram profiles that are followed very closely by the younger population in particular.

Issues of intellectual property protection

Morocco is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization and is a signatory to, for example, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the Patent Cooperation Treaty, the Trademark Law Treaty, the Nice Agreement on the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of Registration of Trademarks, the Protocol to the Madrid Agreement on the International Registration of Trademarks or the Copyright Treaty of the World Intellectual Property Organization.

In Morocco, the National Office for the Protection of Industrial and Commercial Property (Office marocain de propriété industrielle et commerciale – OMPIC) operates, whose task is to register and maintain a database of trademarks, patents, designs and marks, and further education in this domain. At the same time, on request, the office provides legal information about traders, companies and legal assistance to companies in matters of intellectual property. The main legal norm in the issue of industrial property protection is Act No. 31-05 from 2005, which regulates the original Act No. 17-97.

On the website of the office (www.ompic.org.ma) you can find, among other information, statistics and a database of trademarks registered in Morocco. You can also fill out a form on the website with a complaint about an unauthorized copy or brand counterfeit. In case of suspicion of any unauthorized use of a registered trademark, it is also possible to request the customs authorities through the OMPlC to check the import of a specific product and its origin.

At the beginning of 2015, Morocco signed an agreement with the EU on the recognition of geographical indications of agricultural products – European geographical indications are thus protected in Morocco and, conversely, Moroccan ones in the EU.

Despite the above information, it is necessary to point out that the Moroccan market has significant problems with compliance with the rules of intellectual and industrial property, trademarks and registration marks, etc. It is flooded with various local and foreign fakes of branded goods, especially in the field of textiles, fashion accessories and electronics.

When resolving a dispute arising from the violation of intellectual property rights, it is advisable to use the services of law firms dealing with the issue in question.

Public procurement market

Regular reports on the development and trends of the Moroccan economy are published by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (including the monthly “Note de conjoncture” – www.finances.gov.ma/depf ) and the High Planning Office, which carries out the main statistical surveys (summary studies on the state of the economy are published quarterly – www.hcp.ma ).

resources:

marchespublics.gov.ma/ – overview of announced tenders

www.invest.gov.ma – investment portal

Public contracts are of three types – for the supply of work, material or services. They are also accessible to foreign companies. Since January 2014, a new government decree on public contracts (Décret n° 2-12-349 du 8 joumada Ier 1434 – 20 mars 2013 – relatif aux marchés publics) has been effective, which states in Article 155 that preference may be given to Moroccan companies by the fact that the price of foreign offers can be increased by up to 15% by the commission.

Open tenders for public contracts (according to Decree No. 2-06-388 16 moharrem 1428 – 5 February 2007) are always published in at least two daily newspapers and on the special portal www.marchespublics.gov.ma. The publication is at least 21 days before the date of submission of the offer.

Only natural or legal persons who:

  • demonstrate the required legal, technical and financial capacity
  • are in a proper tax situation
  • are registered with the Social Security Administration and make their payments properly

Tender documentation for some tenders is subject to a fee – the price is usually around 500 MAD.

Part of the tender conditions for public works (as well as for some other contracts) are guarantees issued by Moroccan banks on the basis of counter-guarantees issued by a bank in the supplier’s country. The amount can be determined either absolutely or as a percentage of the bid price (up to 10%).

  • warranty (see above)
  • tax authority certificate (from a participant from a company established in Morocco)
  • description of the nature of the goods
  • references on technical capability, human resources and material base

Guarantees and documents submitted by the participant in the tender procedure: some offers are preceded by a pre-qualification procedure, which is also published in the media at the same time as the required documents are listed. Only selected companies are then invited to submit bids. The purpose of the pre-qualification procedure is to exclude companies that do not have sufficient technical, professional and economic prerequisites.

Payment terms, payment ethics and resolution of commercial disputes

It is not possible to develop an exact model for resolving commercial disputes – the conditions of disputes are always individual and the actions of the Moroccan authorities often differ. Minor disputes are usually resolved with the relevant ministry. Disputes can also be referred to court, but due to the slow functioning of the courts, it is recommended to try all possibilities of reaching a settlement of the dispute out of court.

Morocco is a member of the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and a party to the 1958 Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (with reservations) and the 1965 Convention on the Settlement of Disputes between States and nationals of other states.

At regional chambers of commerce and industry, arbitrations are gradually being established, which take over the resolution of disputes between market participants. However, the fact remains that the weak efficiency of commercial justice is one of the weakest links in Morocco’s efforts to make Morocco more attractive to foreign investors, and the country is criticized by many international organizations and rating companies. The European Union has included improving the conditions for resolving trade disputes among the main topics of negotiations with Morocco at the level of working groups on trade.

Visas, fees, specific conditions for traveling to the territory

To enter Morocco, a citizen of the Czech Republic must, according to information from the Moroccan customs administration, be equipped with a passport valid for at least 3 months from the entry into Moroccan territory. Holders of Czech passports do not need a visa to enter Morocco for a stay not exceeding 90 days. Citizens of the Czech Republic should, however, be equipped with a reasonable amount of funds for their stay, taking into account the expected length and purpose of their stay. If a citizen of the Czech Republic intends to perform a gainful activity on Moroccan territory within the framework of a stay of up to 90 days, he is obliged to obtain a work permit from the Moroccan Ministry of Labour. Registration is required in Morocco by hotels, campsites and other accommodation establishments.

You can find more detailed information about traveling to Morocco on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the States and Territories section https://www.mzv.cz/jnp/cz/encyklopedie_statu/afrika/maroko/index.html.

Employment of citizens from the Czech Republic

The conditions for the employment of foreigners and local forces have been simplified in recent years. However, certain restrictions still exist for activities in specialized fields, such as healthcare, pharmacy and advocacy.

An employed foreigner must obtain a long-term residence permit (carte ďmatriculation) in Morocco.

To obtain it, upon arrival in Morocco, it is necessary to present, among other things, a document confirming the purpose of the stay in Morocco (i.e. an employment contract approved by the Moroccan Ministry of Labour), the address of the temporary residence in Morocco, and for some industries it is required and an extract from the criminal record.

The work permit is usually handled by the company where the foreigner will be employed. If a Moroccan employer is interested in employing a foreigner, in these cases he must first prove that he has not found a suitable Moroccan candidate for the position, and then apply for a permit to employ a foreigner from the Moroccan Ministry of Labor and Vocational Education. If the permit is granted, he can conclude a contract with the foreigner, which will be checked by ANAPEC (Agence nationale de promotion de Temploi et des compétences – National Office for the Promotion of Employment and Competence) and will issue approval for the foreigner’s employment.

The minimum wage is around 6,500 CZK. By law, in the future all employees should have health and social insurance.

The Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco in the Czech Republic (Mickiewiczova 254/6, 160 00 Prague 6 – Hradčany, +420 233 325 656,

Information can also be found on the website of the Ministry of Labor https://www.travail.gov.ma/

Fairs and events

There are a number of trade fair events taking place in Morocco. Fairs are most often held in Casablanca or Marrakech. The largest agricultural fair on the African continent, SIAM, takes place in the heart of the agricultural region in the city of Meknes.

SIAM – a trade fair focused on agriculture and food industry with a pan-African reach

SIB – trade fair focused on the construction industry

POLLUTEC – fair focused on the environment

FOOD EXPO – food fair

Morocco Market Entry