Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Israel wants to quadruple its economic exchanges with Morocco

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Tuesday, February 22nd 2022 à 11:00 | Read 365 times

The two ministers initialled a trade agreement in line with their rapprochement (photo: Moroccan Ministry of Trade and Industry)
The two ministers initialled a trade agreement in line with their rapprochement (photo: Moroccan Ministry of Trade and Industry)
ISRAEL / MOROCCO. During a visit to Rabat on Monday 21 February 2022, Orna Barbivai, Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry, signed an economic cooperation agreement with Ryad Mezzour, Moroccan Minister of Industry and Trade.

By initialling this document, the two countries intend to collaborate and facilitate their exchanges in the fields of trade, finance and investment. Exchanges of expertise, organisation of promotional events, business visits, participation in trade fairs and economic conventions, their relations will intensify.

"This is a new stage in our partnership, which we want to be intense, fruitful and mutually beneficial," Ryad Mezzour emphasised on the occasion. The preferred investment sectors are agri-food, automotive, aeronautics, textiles, water technologies, renewable energies, outsourcing of services, medical devices, pharmaceuticals and industry 4.0. In this last area, the agreement also provides for the creation of qualified industrial zones in Morocco, within the framework of a tripartite agreement with the United States. Hosting companies from both countries, they will facilitate direct access to the American market for goods produced locally.
Cooperation will also take place in the field of research.

500 million in trade planned

Israel indicates that it wants to increase its annual trade with Morocco from $131 million today to $500 million "very quickly", says Orna Barbivai. "This cooperation agreement will bring economic growth to Israel and Morocco," she said.

At the same time, discussions took place in the areas of investment promotion, taxation and customs cooperation between the Israeli minister and Nadia Fettah, the Moroccan Minister of the Economy and Finance. A double taxation agreement, a reciprocal investment promotion and protection agreement and a mutual administrative assistance agreement in customs matters are on the agenda for the rapprochement.

"One year after the resumption of diplomatic relations, Morocco and Israel have laid the foundations of an innovative and multidimensional partnership," comments Ryad Mezzour. This economic cooperation agreement is a further step in the normalisation of relations between Israel and Morocco, which began in December 2020.

A rapprochement sought by the United States

The United States, under the administration of Donald Trump, are the architects of this rapprochement, a counterpart of the American recognition of Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara. On 22 December 2020, Morocco and Israel signed a Joint Declaration officially marking the renewal of their relations. On the same day, symbolically, the first commercial flight between Tel Aviv and Rabat   operated by El Al took off. On 13 March 2022, Royal Air Maroc will launch a Casablanca-Tel Aviv service with four weekly frequencies.

While a Morocco-Israel business council was created in March 2021, since August 2021, economic missions between the two partners have multiplied. At the end of November 2021, the two countries also initialled a security cooperation agreement allowing Morocco to become a client of Israel in terms of arms, intelligence and military training. To the great displeasure of neighbouring Algeria, which has broken off all relations with Morocco since the end of August 2021 and is still in latent conflict with Rabat over the thorny issue of Western Sahara.

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