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Morocco is an important strategic market: given its location just across the Mediterranean Sea from Spain, it is effectively where Africa and Europe meet. It is a favoured hub for international law firms seeking to reach out into North Africa or, in some cases, the entire continent.

Following the 2016 general election, the incumbent Justice and Development Party leader Abdelilah Benkirane was unable to form a government. In March 2017, Saadeddine Othmani was chosen to create a coalition from six parties. Political instability has therefore muted investment and corporate activity somewhat, though there is growing activity in infrastructure projects, particularly in the renewable energy sector. The government has an ambitious strategy here, aiming for 50% of the country’s energy consumption to come from renewable energy sources by 2020.

FIRMS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Benzakour Law Firm

Benzakour Law firm (BLF) is a major Moroccan business law firm, with a long history in the country. It is a prominent and very reputable firm in Morocco. It is widely regarded as a top law firm acting in upstream and downstream sides. It offers a large and full portfolio in business law with a particular focus on assistance to foreign investment and litigation. The main areas of practice are corporate, shipping, aviation, real estate, labour, tax law, energy, competition law and litigation/collection debt, arbitration.

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FIRMS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Hajji and Associes

Hajji & Associés is an independent Moroccan law firm that has, since the mid-90s, developed high-level expertise in the international business law field. Hajji & Associés was established in 1996 by Amin Hajji. The activities of the firm cover particular areas of international finance, company restructuring and mergers and acquisitions, energy and infrastructure, market entry plans, IT law, commercial litigation and international arbitration.

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The efforts of King Mohammed VI to forge closer economic ties with neighbouring countries are encouraging outbound investment as well as inbound investment from Europe and the US. Morocco also rejoined the African Union in early 2017.

International law firms in Casablanca include established names Naciri & Associés Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance and Norton Rose Fulbright; Dentons and DLA Piper continue to build their presence. Domestic firms such as Bennani & Associés LLP, Hajji & Associés and Kettani Law Firm maintain longstanding reputations for high-quality work, though young firms such as BFR & Associés and Belouchi Fassi Fihri are rapidly making their mark.

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    In order to harmonize the  Acquis Communautaire on the Taxation of untapped and undeveloped plots of land, the Cyprus Government enacted, on 03/11/2017, relevant legislation for the imposition of 19% Value Added Tax (VAT) on these properties, with a date of enforcement being 02/01/2018. The relevant legislation refers to plots/pieces of land offered and/or provided for construction for economic purposes.

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