Bilateral cooperation can help tackle common challenges such as water scarcity

Morocco-Spain: strong trade ties

marruecos-españa-comercio

Relations between Morocco and Spain are at a stage based on transparency, closeness and partnership in different areas. Moroccan King Mohammed VI and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro S谩nchez opened a new phase in bilateral ties in April 2022. Almost a year later, with the High Level Meeting (HLM) held in early February in Rabat, this new roadmap was consolidated, expanding cooperation in numerous fields.

Some of the sectors that are benefiting most from this good harmony in Spanish-Moroccan relations are trade and the economy. In order to further deepen ties in these areas, a business meeting has been organised in Casablanca with the participation of 58 Spanish companies interested in setting up or investing in Moroccan territory. The sectors in which the companies are involved include renewable energies and water management, transport infrastructures, education, industry and service companies

The panels "Spain-Morocco: towards a consolidated economic partnership" and "Financing investment in Morocco" will highlight the importance of economic and trade links, the opportunities offered by the Moroccan market and the instruments available to companies to finance investment projects.

This meeting is a good opportunity to further deepen and strengthen the excellent trade relations between the two Kingdoms. According to data collected by Le Matin, Spanish exports to Morocco increased by 23.6% in 2022, reaching 鈧11.75 billion and surpassing the previous year's record of 鈧9.5 billion. On the other hand, Spanish imports from Morocco increased by 19.1 per cent to 8.7 billion euros. 

Between 2011 and 2021, bilateral trade has registered an average annual growth rate of 8%, which has made Spain Morocco's largest trading partner, displacing France. The Alawi Kingdom, for its part, is Spain's third largest customer outside the European Union -only behind the United States and the United Kingdom-, surpassing major powers such as China.

"Morocco is a very important market for Spanish exports, and the largest in Africa," Xiana M茅ndez, Spain's Secretary of State for Trade, told the Moroccan media. 

The excellent Spanish-Moroccan trade relations of recent years will continue in 2023, and even exceed previous figures. At the end of March, Spanish exports to Morocco reached 3,251 million euros, an increase of 18.6% compared to the same period in 2022.

In addition to trade, remittances from Moroccans in Spain have also registered a record in recent years. In 2021, transfers from Moroccans residing in the European country increased by 54% compared to the previous year, reaching 13.3 billion dirhams. 

Key sectors for cooperation: renewable energies, tourism and agriculture 

Cooperation between the two countries can also serve to address common challenges, such as water scarcity, a problem that both Spain and Morocco suffer from. For this reason, the exchange of knowledge is essential to overcome this important environmental challenge. In this regard, it is worth highlighting the alliance signed in 2022 between the Spanish company Abengoa, the Moroccan National Office of Electricity and Drinking Water and the Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture. 

This cooperation has made it possible to start up the Agadir seawater desalination plant, which supplies drinking water to the coastal city and its region, as well as to the farms of Chtouka. Private Spanish companies have also played a key role in the construction of the desalination plants at Jorf Lasfar, Al Hoceima and the Bu Regreg river

espa帽a-marruecos-comercio
PHOTO/AP - Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch (right) and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro S谩nchez (left) attend the Spanish Forum on Morocco in Rabat

To further deepen this partnership to address water scarcity, Rabat and Madrid have signed three agreements: Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge and the Ministry of Equipment and Water, Memorandum of Understanding between the Loukkos Water Basin Agency and the Segura Hydrographic Confederation and Memorandum of Understanding between the Tensift Basin Hydrographic Agency and the Guadalquivir Hydrographic Confederation.

The problems caused by water scarcity show us how important it is to take care of the planet and promote renewable energies, a sector in which Morocco and Spain have also come closer together. During the HLM in February, the Moroccan and Spanish delegations agreed to promote green initiatives and the development of renewable energies.

Morocco and Spain are also taking joint steps in the automobile industry, tourism and agriculture. As M茅ndez told Le Matin, "our cooperation goes beyond the purely economic aspect, it extends to the areas of social education, culture and tourism".

More in Economy and business