The ink is barely dry on the Morocco-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, and already, four Moroccan parts manufacturers plan to attend next week's AAPEX show in Las Vegas.
The pact, which allows products to be shipped between the two countries with little or no duty, was completed in July and doesn't even go into effect until the beginning of next year.
Talk about being anxious to come to America.
AAPEX stands for Automotive Aftermarket Product Expo, and it's part of Automotive Aftermarket Week, which is the annual big deal in the desert city that includes SEMA and a couple of other events.
SEMA, which stands for Specialty Equipment Market Association, will draw about 100,000 attendees looking for the latest and coolest aftermarket stuff to sell in dealerships and other retail outlets.
AAPEX is different. It's sponsored by the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association and billed as a "$250 billion aftermarket business-to-business event," which explains why companies from all over the world want to get here to grab a piece of the big-time action.
Like most companies from developing nations looking for their big break, the four Moroccan companies going to Vegas generally produce commodities, not highly engineered, complex or high-value parts.
They make friction material for brake pads, brake linings and clutch linings; exhaust systems; oil, fuel and air filters; cables; and molded plastic parts.
A press release issued on behalf of the Moroccan companies says they are seeking "relationships with U.S. companies for sales in the U.S. as well as in Europe." That sounds a lot like a forlorn entry in some lonely-hearts column.
But these days, there are a lot of lonely hearts seeking relationships. So the Moroccans have a selling point: "Morocco is an excellent manufacturing platform for U.S. companies selling to Europe."
Well of course it is. Everybody knows the logistics are superb. Parts produced in Morocco could go by rail to Europe via the Marrakech Express or be airlifted to Lisbon from Casablanca.
Ain't free trade great?