Minister of Industry and Trade, Ryad Mezzour, urged economic stakeholders in Morocco and Saudi Arabia to increase efforts in order to build effective strategic partnerships, through better exploitation of the industrial complementarity between the two countries and the enormous potential offered within the framework of a win-win relationship for both sides, while taking into account mutual interests.
Speaking at the opening, Monday in Jeddah, of the Moroccan-Saudi Business Forum, the Moroccan minister voiced “the Moroccan government’s full support for the objectives of this partnership, as well as the particular interest it takes in its development so as to meet the expectations of our two peoples.”
On this occasion, the minister welcomed the Saudi economic stakeholders and businessmen who have chosen Morocco as a destination, being confident in its economic and commercial potential, as well as the investment opportunities it abounds, calling on them to open up more to their second country, Morocco, which provides them with all the facilities and incentives.
During this Forum, which was attended by the Moroccan ambassador to Riyadh, Mustapha Mansouri, the President of the Jeddah Chamber, the President of the Moroccan-Saudi Business Council, as well as representatives of the General Confederation of Morocco’s Enterprises (CGEM) and the Moroccan Association of Exporters (ASMEX), Mr. Mezzour reviewed the results of bilateral relations, welcoming the qualitative development they are experiencing, as well as the ambition to make more achievements for the benefit of the two kingdoms.
Regarding trade, the government official said that Saudi Arabia is Morocco’s leading partner in the Arab world, noting that the overall value of trade between the two countries reached 17.2 billion dirhams ($1.76 billion) in 2021.
Morocco’s imports amounted to 16.40 billion dirhams ($1.68 billion) in 2021, while exports reached 771 million dirhams ($79 million), Mezzour said, adding that Saudi direct investments in Morocco, in the sectors of industry, real estate, tourism and agriculture, amounted to 246 million dirhams (26.6 million dollars) in 2020.
Despite these performances, the bilateral economic relations remain below the level of the potentialities of the two countries, he pointed out, calling for more efforts to give new impetus to bilateral cooperation.
The Moroccan minister stressed that his visit to Saudi Arabia, accompanied by a large delegation from CGEM and ASMEX, reflects the strong ties and close relations binding the two countries.
“These distinguished fraternal relations linking our two countries on solid foundations, give us a strong determination and a firm common will to undertake serious and sincere action with a view to raising them, as well as all aspects of our bilateral cooperation, to the level of the aspirations of the two countries for greater complementarity, inclusion and prosperity,” he said, expressing the wish that his meetings with the Saudi Minister of Investment, Industry and Mineral Resources and the Minister of Tourism, Ahmed Al-Khateeb, will be an opportunity to develop a global vision for the strengthening of economic cooperation between the two countries.
On the other hand, Mr. Mezzour highlighted the sectoral strategies put in place by Morocco in the areas of industry, agriculture, tourism, logistics and energy, explaining that these strategies have made of the Kingdom a high-potential export platform capable of promoting exports to promising new markets of more than one billion consumers.
The various speakers, for their part, addressed the opportunities for partnership between the two parties, the obstacles faced by investors from the two countries and customs exemptions, calling for the creation of a common investment fund to support small and medium-sized enterprises, which represent 95% of the entrepreneurial fabric in the two countries.
At the end of this Forum, a memorandum of understanding was signed between ASMEX and the Union of Chambers of Commerce in Saudi Arabia.
Mr. Mezzour took part in an Iftar in honor of the Moroccan delegation, marked by the presence of the Saudi Minister of Trade, Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi, the Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to Riyadh, as well as several Saudi businessmen.