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Moroccan artisans prepare to take on new markets

In January, the Morocco MSME Artisans Promotion Project (MMAPP) successfully completed its first programmed Trade Mission to New York City, which was composed by ten representatives from the Moroccan handcrafts sector who hope to gain access to new markets. The tour included four days of meetings with buyers, visits to showrooms, and crash courses on buyer requirements and consumer preferences in the US market. The trip concluded with the participation of nine of the touring artisans in the New York Gift Fair, a high profile trade show.

Morocco’s artisans already export their handcrafts to Europe and the Middle East, and now they seek to expand to other markets where the entry requirements are different. US buyers, for example, buy in greater quantities and public's taste is different to that of other regions. MMAPP is also assisting Morocco's artisans with trend forecasting.

While the purpose of this Trade Mission was to learn and not necessarily produce sales yet, the artisans returned to Morocco having established contact with 22 potential buyers in the US.

This Trade Mission was the first one of six to be conducted by MMAPP. The next one is planned for March and the destination is Seoul, South Korea. The Korean market is difficult to break into, due to its proximity to China, yet it offers big opportunities as the country's per capita income and expenditure in luxury goods continues to grow. In APril, the artisans will return to the United States to attend HIgh Point Market, the largest interiors trade show in the US.

MMAPP is a project funded by the Agency of Partnership for Progress (Millennium Challenge Account Morocco) and implemented by CARANA. MMAPP is dedicated to facilitating the growth of the handcrafts and artisanal industry in Fes and Marrakech through export promotion.

Published March 2013