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In this page: Market Access Procedures | Distributing a Product

 

Market Access Procedures

 
 

Customs Procedures

Import Procedures
For free imports, the importer must sign a commitment for imports on form "Commitment for Import, Import license, Preliminary Import Declaration" (in French).
The Commitment to Import must be drawn up in 5 specimens and accompanied by a Pro-forma invoice in 5 copies specifying:

  • the unit price expressed in ex-works value, FOB, FAS;
  • quantity expressed in units of appropriate measures;
  • trade description of the goods.

The Commitment to Import must be filed with an authorised bank chosen by the importer for domiciliation. After domiciliation, the bank gives the importer their own copy along with two extra copies, in a sealed envelop for the customs office. The Commitment to Import is valid for 6 months as from the date of its domiciliation and facilitates customs clearance and the financial settlement of the goods.

An application for exemption from customs duties is necessary for free imports allowed as duty-free within the framework of the tariff and commercial Agreements and Accords concluded between Morocco and certain countries, products belonging to tariff quotas set forth by the Association and Free trade Agreements concluded between Morocco and the European Community and Morocco and the States of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), and products belonging to tariff quotas envisaged by the Multilateral Agreements.

Application for exemption from customs duties is to be made in 4 copies on a form called "Customs Exemption Application" and accompanied by a pro forma invoice in 3 copies, specifying:

  • the unit price expressed in ex-works value, FOB, FAS;
  • quantity expressed in units of appropriate measures;
  • trade description of the goods.

Application for exemption from customs duties is lodged with the Ministry of Foreign Trade; it is delivered by this department after consultation with the ministry concerned. The decision to grant or refuse exemption from customs duties is notified to the concerned party by the Ministry of Foreign Trade. Exemption from customs duties is valid for a maximum of 6 months as from the date of the stamp of the Ministry for Foreign Trade.

Import of goods is further subject to the invoice, the import title and, if necessary other documents required according to the nature of the products, on presentation at the customs office within 60 days as from the deposit of the summary declaration, a detailed declaration on a form called "Single Declaration of Goods" (DUM).

In the case of imports, you can make an advance payment up to 40% of the transaction. The advance payment is authorized for certain products to the limit of the value of DH 200,000 (see Circular 1718 of 1st August, 2007). For more information on the framework of the exchange transactions regulation, please consult the website of the Moroccan Foreign Exchange Office (in French only).

For more information on customs clearance procedure, please visit the website of Moroccan Customs.

Specific Import Procedures
For goods subject to import license, the importer must submit the license application form in 6 copies, against receipt, with the Ministry of Industry, Investment, Trade and Digital Economy. The license is issued delivered by the ministry, after consultation with other concerned ministries. The import license is valid for 6 months to the maximum.
Certain goods are also subject to a preliminary import declaration: those that are likely to cause a serious damage to local production. These include cases of massive imports, imports of products subsidised in the exporting country or products imported at dumped prices. The importer must submit 6 copies of the preliminary import declaration application with the Ministry of Industry, Investment, Trade and Digital Economy. The Ministry of Foreign Trade assesses the application within 10 days. The preliminary import declaration is valid for a period of 9 months and renewable once.
For a list of the goods for which an import license is required, click here.
Importing Samples
Samples can enter without custom duties, subject to a deposit, if they are re-exported. The limit for temporary entry is six months, renewable for up to two years.
Morocco is a signatory of the ATA carnet agreement.
 

To go further, check out our service Import controls and Export controls.

 
 

Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports

Customs threshold (from which tariffs are required)
No customs threshold applies.
Average Customs Duty (Excluding Agricultural Products)
According to data by the World Bank, the simple average tariff across all products is 4.34%.
Products Having a Higher Customs Tariff
According to data by the World Bank, the maximum rate of tariff on any product is 200%. However, import duties generally vary from 2.5% to 40%.
Preferential Rates
Morocco has signed several bilateral and multilateral trade agreements, including those with the EU, the USA, the EFTA, the Arab Free Trade Zone, Turkey, etc.
Customs Classification
Morocco applies the Harmonised Customs System
Method of Calculation of Duties
Ad valorem on the CIF value of the goods.
Method of Payment of Customs Duties
Import commitments must be domiciled with a bank.
Recently, the Moroccan customs have set up a system of online secure payment.
Import Taxes (Excluding Consumer Taxes)
A para-fiscal tax of 25% on imports applies to finance activities, such as technical inspections for export goods, economic and export promotion, industrial development, and small-scale production.
Under Moroccan tax law, the importation operations are subject to VAT at the rate of 20%, plus a special tax on importation called Taxe Parafiscale à l’Importation (TPI), with a rate of 0.25%.Excise taxes apply to specific products, such as tobacco, alcohol, and lubricants.
 

List of tariffs and local taxes that apply to your product on our service Customs duties and local taxes.

 

Labeling and Packaging Rules

Packaging
The Moroccan Institute of Packaging and Conditioning (IMEC) is competent as regards standards of packaging and conditioning. The Ministries of Agriculture and Health control farm products and products meant for human consumption.
Languages Permitted on Packaging and Labeling
French and/or Arabic
Unit of Measurement
Metric system
Mark of Origin "Made In"
Obligatory
Labeling Requirements
Name of the product, name and address of the manufacturer, country of origin, weight
Specific Regulations
For foodstuffs, date of manufacture and expiry date of consumption.
For drugs, additionally composition should be mentioned.

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Distributing a Product

 

Distribution Network

Types of Outlet

Family run small shops
Mainly food products
Local supermarkets

Acima, Label'Vie
Hypermarkets
Diversified
Aswak Assalam, Marjane
Specific retail stores
Furniture, household electrical appliances, do-it-yourself, clothes
Mr. Bricolage
Kitea
Tangerois
Zara
 

Evolution of the Retail Sector

Growth and Regulation
The food retail sector has been growing in recent years, and in 2018 it represented 13% of the country’s GDP (USDA, latest data available). Although traditional channels still account for 80% of grocery retailing, large-scale distribution is expected to account for about 30% of national consumption by 2025 (Ministry of Industry estimates).  Several factors are influencing the changing retail sector in Morocco: a high rate of population growth and rapid urbanisation, combined with the rise of disposable income.

The retail distribution of food in Morocco varies across income levels. Superstores generally cater to more affluent consumers. Traditional neighbourhood stores cater to the lower income population who tend to buy fewer items on a frequent basis. Weekly rural farmers' markets cater to rural populations. Higher income earners tend to buy more processed and packaged foods on a frequent basis (especially in high-income areas like Casablanca, Rabat, Tangiers, and Marrakech). Large supermarkets are currently in all major Moroccan cities (including Agadir, Tangiers, Fes, Meknes, Tetouan, and Mohamedia) and are increasingly being opened in even middle size cities (such as Beni Mellal, Khouribga and Oujda) as well as in lower-income areas of major cities, thus providing alternatives to traditional buying habits.  Moroccans are gradually shifting towards modern retail channels and embracing technology, with independent small grocers growing at a slow rate compared to their previous performance.
Marjane Holding and Label’Vie (Carrefour, Carrefour Market, and Atacadao) are Morocco’s leading modern food retailers with other notables including Ynna (Aswak Salam) and BIM. About half of supermarkets’ sales take place in Casablanca and Rabat.

Internet retailing packaged food sales are expected to continue increasing, as consumers are always looking for more convenience. The demand for convenience, health and wellness, will be among the main consumer trends that are likely to impact retailing in the years to come in groceries.

Market share
According to the latest figures from USDA, Marjane remained the leading supermarket in Morocco in value terms in 2019. In general, the main brands are:

- Marjane: with 38 outlets and an estimated market share of 56% in 2018
- Label’Vie group: owns the brands Atacadao (11 outlets) and Carrefour (8 outlets), with a combined market share of around 20% (including Carrefour Market). The group intends to continue its development program with the opening this year of 16 new points of sale
- BIM, a discount store with a wide presence in the country, was estimated to account for 11% of total modern retail sales
- Aswak Assalam: with 13 outlets and a market share of about 8%
- Acima: with 42 outlets and a market share of nearly 6%

Furthermore, the French retailer group Système U entered the Moroccan landscape in 2019, opening its first supermarket in Rabat.
Concerning traditional grocery stores, government figures estimate their number at around 45,000. They are generally managed by one person and have a limited size.
Retail Sector Organisations
Ministry of Commerce and Industry
Trade and Services Federation
 

E-commerce

Internet access
Morocco, with its 36.2 million inhabitants, is a mid-sized country by African standards and has the sixth highest internet penetration rate across the continent. Internet penetration rate rose to 62.4% (63.67% according to Moroccan National Telecommunications Regulatory Agency) at the end of 2017 with 22.6 million Internet users (Internet World Stats). As such, despite accounting for 2.8% of Africa's total population, Morocco has nearly 5% of all Internet users in Africa. Over 90% of Internet users access via mobile (20.83 million) and their number rose by 31.69% in 2017. Morocco had 1.32 million fixed Internet users (ADSL) at the end of 2017, as opposed to 1.23 million in 2016. Fibre Optic Internet has only 36,347 subscribers (10,657 in 2016). 6.8 million users had 4G Wireless Internet access at the end of 2017 (2.8 million at the end of 2016, +143% y-o-y). The number of smartphones rose to 18.06 million at the end of 2016 (3.36 million higher than 2015) (National Telecommunications Regulatory Agency). As far as search engines are concerned, Google dominates the industry with a 96.31% market share, followed by Yahoo at 2.7%.
E-commerce market
The Moroccan e-commerce market is booming and is among the most vibrant in Africa. Morocco is ranked 6th among African states (after Mauritius, South Africa, Tunisia, Nigeria and Kenya) and 85th worldwide on UNCTAD's B2C E-commerce Index list. Retail websites affiliated with the Moroccan Electronic Interbanking Centre registered US$ 211 million income in the first nine months of 2017, an increase of 51.4% from the previous year. The Pan-African Jumia, which is the top online retailer in many African countries, is also in a leading position in Morocco, with more than five million visitors per month and 230,000 daily visits on average. Morocco-based Hmizate is also a key player in the market and has launched many special sales events (Black Friday, Mobile Week, Ramadan special) to compete against international retailers. As far as specialist websites are concerned, Inwi leads the electronics sector whereas Citymall and Lavieclaire dominate beauty and food markets respectively. Richbond and Azurahome generate nearly two-thirds of sales in housing and decoration. Decathlon and Vetement lead online fashion sales (more than 40% of specialised sales). Cross-border trade is less popular than in European countries owing to a general lack of secure online payment methods. Nonetheless, AliExpress has launched a local version of its website, and Amazon France along with several other intermediary companies deliver Amazon orders to Morocco. The lack of online payment systems has always been an obstacle for the development of Moroccan e-commerce. However, online payments and credit cards recorded strong growth in 2017 and 2018. According to the Moroccan Electronic Interbanking Centre, internet payment activity was characterised by strong growth during the first half of 2018, with the number of online payments increasing 32%. Additionally, internet payment systems such as PayPal are beginning to enter the market and are also gaining popularity in the country. Finally, the Moroccan Government is working on the implementation of policies and strategies that aim to accelerate the digital transformation of the country. The main goals of the '2020 Morocco Digital Plan' are to make Morocco a regional digital hub through the strengthening of digital export offers and the bridging of the digital divide and the transformation of the most important sectors of the national economy.
E-commerce sales and customers
According to the Moroccan Interbank Electronic Payment Centre, online sales made by credit cards and electronic payment methods stood at US$ 280 million, with 6.6 million transactions in 2017. The number of transactions increased by 82.1%, whereas the volume of sales rose by 50.3% compared to 2016. According to these figures, Moroccan online shoppers spent US$ 42.8 per purchase, which is lower than the American and European averages of US$ 86 and US$ 73 respectively. Nonetheless, it is important to note that these figures only take into account online purchases made by methods other than cash, which is in fact the most preferred payment method in Morocco. The total e-commerce value including cash-on-delivery transactions stands at US$ 2.35 billion and comprises 2.35% of total trade in goods and services, according to Hootsuite. Moroccans are changing their shopping habits and consumers are developing a taste for online shopping. The number of e-commerce customers rose above 4.2 million, which accounts for 12% of total population. This rate goes up to 15.5% in cities and drops to 2.5% in rural areas. More than half of customers would have made between 2 and 5 purchases per year. According to the Moroccan National Telecommunications Regulatory Agency Annual Report, saving time is by far the main reason that pushes consumers to shop online (55.3%), followed by special price deals offered on e-commerce websites (18.6%). The potential for mobile commerce in the country grows as smartphone usage continues to spread through Morocco, making it an important part of the market. According to a research conducted by Jumia, 73% of its clients visit Jumia using their phones, with a successful purchase rate of 70%. Additionally, smartphones are Jumia’s most popular product, both in number of items sold and in income generated. Moroccan stores are therefore investing more and more in mobile commerce, seen as the future source of growth of e-commerce in the country.
Social media
Moroccan Internet users are increasingly active on social media and spend on average 2 hours and 24 minutes per day on these platforms, and 2 hours and 53 minutes online in general, according to Hootsuite. The number of social media users is estimated at 16 million - 44% of total population - which represents a 12% y-o-y increase from 2017. Nearly all of them - 15 million users - also access their accounts via mobile, denoting a 15% y-o-y increase during the same period. According to the National Telecommunications Regulatory Agency, 77% of social media users check their accounts on a daily basis, a rate that increases to 80% in cities, and decreases to 68% in rural areas. Facebook is by far the most popular social media network with nearly 16 million accounts, out of which 13.2 million belong to users under 34 years old (8.2 million males under 34 and 5 million females). Additionally, of the total number of accounts, 36% belong to female users and 64% to males. WhatsApp users are slightly more active than those on Facebook. Instagram has 3.5 million users in Morocco, accounting for nearly 10% of the total population, and is more popular among men, with 43% of accounts belonging to female users and 57% to males. Twitter and LinkedIn are among the least popular networks with only 8% and 3% of Internet users being active on these platforms respectively. As of August 2018, the leading social media platforms by market share in the country were YouTube (50.19%), Facebook (43.4%), Twitter (2.74%), Pinterest (2.74%), Instagram (0.36%) and Google+ (0.18%).
 

Direct Selling

Evolution of the Sector
The World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA) 2017 report shows retail direct selling in Morocco grew 3%, was valued at USD 119 million, and involved 292,597 independent representatives.

Euromonitor International expects the Moroccan direct selling industry to continue growing due to the entry of small direct sellers, increased Internet use, and brand representatives in every city or town as well as young consumers interested in beauty products and trends. Oriflame remained the largest direct selling company in 2017. Avon Beauty Products and Forever Living have adopted a different sales strategy, option to collaborate with beauty bloggers and Youtube influencers when introducing new products. Independent online retailers such as American Shop by Hanan, Accesories shop, and UniqueShop have growing influence on social media and offer international cosmetics not available in Moroccan direct selling channels
 
 

Commercial Intermediaries

Trading Companies
 
  • Type of Organization
Generally import-export companies specialized in a product range.
Occasionally, they have distribution activities.
  • Main Actors
Macro Market
Casma
Wholesalers
 
  • Type of Organization
The sector is very spread out.
Wholesalers are generally small companies specialized in a type of product. They are generally local food-processing or craft industry (co-operatives) products.
Wholesalers are found in the industrial sector, and are generally related to the producing conglomerate (ONA, etc).
For many kind of goods distribution’s network, it is relatively easy to identify the major players.
  • Main Actors
Metro Cash & Carry
Useful Resources
Morocco directory
 

Using a Commercial Agent

The Advantages
Having a sales representative facilitates penetrating the market rapidly (he is already well established) and less expensive (no fixed charges).
Where to Be Vigilant
Loss of autonomy in commercial management and marketing.
The company is completely dependent on the motivation and competence on the agent.
Elements of Motivation
Exclusive rights, a fixed term contract, a minimal sale objective.
Besides, follow-up and in particular field visits are very important.
The Average Amount of Commission
From 5 to 10% of sales or 50% of the gross margin. Variable according to the sectors.
Breach of Contract
A written contract is highly recommended.
The duration of the collaboration, the amount of remuneration must be fixed and a non-competition clause must be specified at least during the collaboration.
Finding a Commercial Agent
Agent & Co
Laniac, in French

Learn more about Traders, Agents in Morocco on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

 

Setting Up a Commercial Unit

The Advantages
Facilitates having an observation and research base, entering into commercial contacts and advertising its company.
Where to Be Vigilant
Relatively expensive. If one does not know the market, it would be better to be introduced.
Different Possible Forms of Settlement
 
  • A Representative Office
A representative office may be necessary to obtain market or any other data and provide promotional support. However, a contact office not being able to involve in commercial transactions or income generation, cannot directly manage orders and print invoices.
  • A Branch Office
A branch or a subsidiary company can take and run orders and run a marketing or advertizing program, recruit sales forces and carry out promotional activities.
The branch does not have legal entity, the procedures of creation are thus simple and short. On the other hand, the parent company is responsible for all debts and obligations of the branch.
  • A Company
It offers a commercial credibility to your prospectives and  suppliers, a better guarantee of protection of the registered brand, of obtaining credit and market penetration.
 

Franchising

Evolution of the Sector

The franchise sector is in full rise in Morocco and occupies an increasingly important place within the commercial landscape, in line with the evolution of consumers’ behaviour in Morocco, aspiring to quality products and a modern and pleasant purchasing environment. Such trends have played a structuring role in the development of commercial real estate and has accompanied the emergence of a significant supply of shopping centres in several Moroccan cities (including the Morocco Mall in Casablanca, which is North Africa’s largest). Data from the Moroccan Association of Franchises shows that there are currently 500 franchising firms active in the country, with more than 2,000 points of sale and more than 600,000 people employed. US firms play an important role, with over four hundred American franchises operating in the fast food, clothing, office supply, furniture, cosmetics, office cleaning, and auto repair sectors. French firms are also important for the sector (around 40% of total franchises according to Business France). The distribution of sales points shows a strong concentration in the metropolitan area of Rabat-Casablanca due to its high population density and purchasing power.
The 2019 International Franchise Attractiveness Index ranked Morocco 39 with a significant score of 54. With a list of 131 states, the index listed Morocco as the first attractive business hub in Africa and the 2nd in MENA after the UAE.
According to a recent survey carried out by the Moroccan Association of Franchises, the sector has been strongly impacted by the Covid-19 health crisis. The drop in activity is estimated at nearly 90% of turnover.

Some Big Franchises
Alfa, real estate
Kitea, furniture
Pigier, educational programs
For Further Information
Ministry of Industry, Commerce and New Technologies (in French), Department of Commerce and distribution
 

Finding Assistance

Export Trading Companies
Moroccan Association of Exporters
Directory of Moroccan importers
Cassma
Moroccan center for export promotion
Recommended Resource
 
 
 
 

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Learn more about Sales in Morocco on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Latest update: June 2022

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