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Morocco seized over 95 tons of illegal plastic bags in 2019

Rabat – In a report on the illicit smuggling of contraband products during 2019, the Customs and Indirect Tax Administration (ADII) has highlighted the fight against five types of contraband in Morocco, including illegal plastic bags.

Making plastic bags and using them in stores is illegal in Morocco under Law 77-15, resulting in some cross-border smuggling. ADII assisted authorities in seizing 95.66 tons of plastic bags in Morocco in 2019, Maghreb Arab Press reported.

In 2018, Morocco seized 37 tons of plastic bags, making last year’s seizure a 157% increase on the previous year.

ADII reported that its seizures of all contraband, excluding narcotics and transport vehicles, were worth MAD 585 million ($59 million). In addition to plastic bags, the administration reported its activity fighting contraband clothing, drugs and cigarettes, currency smuggling, and counterfeiting.

In its fight against drug trafficking, Morocco’s customs staff seized 119 tons of cannabis resin. In addition, authorities seized 63 grams of “hard drugs” and 690,000 psychotropic tablets, such as ecstasy, amphetamines, and Rivotril.

After the 2019 Finance Bill increased the tax on some cigarettes, ADII found a slight increase of smuggled cigarettes in Morocco. A “prevalence study” found that 5.23% of cigarettes in Morocco were contraband, up from 3.73% in 2018.

ADII noted that the percentage of contraband cigarettes to legal cigarettes remains low.

The customs administration also seized MAD 100 million ($10 million) worth of contraband clothing and fabrics. Morocco has imposed import tariffs on clothing, which may be a cause for smuggling. Officials employed highway searches to make the seizures.

At borders, customs officers seized MAD 129.9 million ($13 million) for “foreign exchange offenses” in 2019.

ADII also fights counterfeiting and received 689 requests to stop the sale of suspected counterfeit goods in 2019. At the same time, customs officers found 700,000 counterfeit products in the course of their duties.


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