Morocco and Spain attempt to increase economic ties
A top level Spanish delegation headed by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy held talks with Moroccan officials in Rabat on Wednesday.
Despite their historic political differences, the two countries focused on economic ties.
Rajoy’s visit marks two decades since the signing of a friendship treaty between the two kingdoms. Rabat and Madrid already have strong social and commercial links and since January, Spain has become Morocco’s top economic partner, a spot that was occupied by France for many decades.
Both Morocco and Spain believe that the prospects for closer cooperation are promising.
“Morocco and Spain decided to inaugurate a new partnership with new tools, new instruments and a new vision. The vision is to reinforce our political dialogue and to give priority to business because today what is important is how to do business,” said Morocco’s state minister for foreign affairs, Youssef Lamrani.
The parternship will benefit both countries, a Spanish minister said.
“We will bring our experience to Moroccan in the fields where there is a need and will also provide this country with the techniques we developed,” said Spanish minister for agriculture and fisheries, Migule Arias Canete.
Spain has around 20,000 small and medium-sized businesses that export to Morocco and is keen to keep its share of the Moroccan market.
The Moroccan business delegation was led by Miriem Bensaleh-Chaqroun, the chairperson of Confederation of Moroccan Entrepreneurs.
She said the specific sectors and companies in both countries would be provided help.
Morocco has suffered a drop in economic growth over the last year and is looking to diversify its markets and doing all it can to attract foreign investments in a difficult climate.
Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane is trying to woo foreign investors with better trade union relations and radical changes to fight corruption. He told the Spanish businessmen who met their Moroccan counterparts ahead of the high level meeting between the two countries that Rabat will do its best to encourage foreign investments, mainly from Spain.
Rajoy visited Rabat last January on his first visit since taking office and Benkirane returned the visit in May.
On Tuesday, the Spanish prime minister quashed speculation the country could apply for a bailout as soon as this weekend, but expectations are high that Spain will eventually request aid.