by Hanane Thamik
Despite the interruption due to the health crisis of COVID-19, the economic relations between Morocco and China are still very intensive. The trade partnership between the two countries is expanding and many new development opportunities are emerging.
In recent years, Morocco has taken an open economy as the pillar of its international trade strategy, especially by strengthening its bilateral relations with China. After King Mohammed VI visited Beijing in 2016, the partnership between the two countries has grown rapidly in recent years. Visa exemption for Chinese tourists, official adhesion of the kingdom to the Belt and Road Initiative, the launch of the direct airline Casablanca-Beijing or the latest project of the Cité Mohammed VI Tanger Tech … Actions have multiplied to consolidate these relationships on different levels.
The online Expo “China –Middle East and North Africa ( Morocco ) International Trade Digital Expital 2020 ” was designated to serve the trade demands between China and the Middle-East and North Africa countries during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and further promote the economic trade relations between China and the Middle East and North African countries with the digital exhibition platform.
Among the dignitaries who delivered keynote speeches was His Excellency the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to China, Mr. Aziz Mekouar who stressed that the ambitious Cité Mohammed VI Tanger Tech project is intended to be a model of active cooperation projects underway between Morocco and China. Chinese companies are encouraged to set up shop in this industrial park with great tax incentives, state of the art infrastructure, and unimpeded access to the largest port in the West Mediterranean.
The country indeed ranks amongst the most stable and attractive destinations worldwide for automotive and aerospace, while also offering attractive incentives to foreign investors in the textile, chemical, medical, renewable energy, and agricultural sectors, he added during a video conference intervention.
Morocco officially adhered to the Belt and Road Initiative in November 2017. As the greatest infrastructure project ever devised by mankind, one which connects every continent on the map, Morocco and China now have a new platform to promote new projects and to take advantage of new forms of funding, recalled his excellency.
The ties between the two countries, which celebrated the 62nd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations on November 1, were further strengthened, he said, thanks to HM the King’s visit to China in May 2016, which resulted in the signing of the Strategic Partnership agreement, in addition to 32 agreements covering several economic, cultural, legal and many other fields.
Besides, Mr. Mekouar noted that China is one of the few countries to have succeeded in overcoming the Covid-19 pandemic and in ensuring its economic recovery, noting that Morocco has also taken unprecedented measures to curb the spread of the pandemic while ensuring the maintenance of its economy thanks in particular to its political stability, its geostrategic position, its modern infrastructures, and its developed industrial fabric.
His excellency, the ambassador, is encouraging Chinese investors to seriously consider the benefits of setting up shop in Morocco to take advantage of the maturity of our infrastructure and industry, the attractive incentives we offer them, the free trade agreements we have adhered to, and our unique geographical position.
This Cité deserves, beyond its stakeholders in the capital and its promoters and investors, that everyone considers it as the work of Morocco which will illustrate what collective intelligence and the synergy of human and financial resources can allow realizing, at the gates of Europe, in Africa and for Africa, underlined Mr. Benjelloun.
The commitment of all state components gives this national and international public-private partnership an exceptional dimension which will make the Cité Mohammed VI Tanger Tech a platform for production and triangular exchanges between China, Morocco, and the rest of the world, estimated the president of the Bank of Africa.
It would also garner the support of those around the world who are supporters of economic and social progress, supporters of the emergence of prosperous regional territories that can represent genuine poles of development, the benefits of which will be felt in the regions concerned and across other geographies, in Morocco and Africa, he added.
Aiming to confirm the role that the Bank of Africa plays in strengthening economic relations between Morocco and China, and more globally between China and Africa, the banking group is increasing its partnership agreements with high-level Chinese economic actors. For instance, the agreements signed between Bank of Africa, Zhejiang China Commodity City Group (CCC Group), and the China Chamber of Commerce for Machinery and Equipment ( CCCME ), which mark the determination of the Bank of Africa to implement all the necessary means to advance in the realization of projects in line with the strategic vision inspired by the Moroccan government and which falls within the framework of the strengthening of Chinese -Moroccan cooperation for the economic development of the Kingdom of Morocco and the whole African continent.
The Kingdom of Morocco and indeed the Moroccan embassy in China also attended the China International Import Expo which is the largest import-export in the world. This Expo is a demonstration of China’s strong commitment to economic globalization and trade liberalization to the world demonstrating China’s firmness in expanding opening up determination.
China is the third-largest trading partner of Morocco and the Moroccan government attaches great importance to the development of Morocco-China economic and trade relations.
Hanane Thamik is a Ph.D. scholar at the School of Information Management at Wuhan University.
The preceding article reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily those of CGTN Africa, its staff or management.