MOROCCO - Transport
Director Trade Remedies and Regulation, Ministry of Industry, Investment, trade and Digital EconoMY
Saïd Maghraoui Hassani is an economist. Since 2013, he has been responsible for the conduct of foreign trade policy within the Ministry of Industry and Trade. In this capacity, he has contributed to several initiatives aimed at the dematerialization of import and export procedures through their integration into the PortNet platform.
As a Director of Defense and Trade Regulations, what initial measures did you take to deal with the pandemic?
As soon as the pandemic was declared, Morocco took the urgent necessary measures, dealt with the lockdown situation, and suspended several activities. My main concern was the provision of necessary products such as medicine and food. Therefore, the ministry was focused on maintaining stable prices and ensuring sufficient supply in the market. For that, we put a taskforce in place that was in contact with different sectors that produce and import products that were identified as commodities. It was absolutely necessary to gather regular information and have daily updates about prices and supply lines. We used an electronic platform to receive all of this information. We were also connected through PortNet to follow up on our export commitments. This platform enabled us to frequently review our day-to-day work in terms of completed imports and those in progress. This was our main role during the pandemic, as well as satisfying consumers and the market with regular provisioning of local and imported items.
What were the main lessons learned for your department as a result of the pandemic?
Moroccan companies are highly resilient and adaptive. Of course, there were disturbances in the early days, though things subsequently improved, and everyone adapted. Second, there were lessons learned from the collective work between the administration and private companies, and we were able to achieve great results. PortNet was easy to access and enabled everyone to input data and access the information to make decisions. This was extremely important to the extent that it enabled higher productivity. These were the main lessons from the pandemic.
How does the ministry plan to continue to support trade moving forward, particularly with greater levels of digitalization?
Digitalization was also linked to the pandemic and was extremely useful during this period. It played an important role for following up with contacts and business deals in Morocco and the rest of the world. Digitalization also enabled us to facilitate many activities, especially those related to the procedures for foreign trade. The PortNet platform facilitated the management of all these procedures, allowing several collaborators to handle the formalities related to imports and exports and facilitated the management of price reductions, improved traceability, provided transparency, and reduced the risk of errors. All these elements contributed to an easier switch toward a digitalized system of working. These are tools that allow us to manage our procedures and help collaborators and our administration have a better overall view. Furthermore, it provides for a clearer perspective in relation to a certain amount of data and constitutes an important databank that allow us to better direct our policies.
What are the priorities for the ministry for the next three years?
One of our major objectives is to continue our facilitation program through paperless international trade procedures. Our ambition is to go completely paperless in terms of the formalities of foreign trade in a few years for all stakeholders, including the controllers, customs, companies, and so on. Next, we witnessed a huge reconstruction of global value chains. Previously, we had global value chains, though with the pandemic, we are moving increasingly toward regionalized value chains. This means that part of our sourcing from Europe and also China will come from neighboring countries. Morocco will also be better placed in this new configuration of value chains. We will also focus on the development and promotion of our exports in a more efficient way. One of our priorities will be to boost our exports and better integrate the global value chains and international trade. Morocco is already well placed in the region, Europe, and Africa, though we can do much more. This is a major priority for both the ministry and the country. This will enable us to reduce the deficit and create job opportunities, particularly in the export sectors.
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