Holding in Marrakech of the first Morocco-EU Business Dialogue

The first edition of the Morocco-European Union (EU) Business Dialogue took place on Thursday in Marrakech, at the initiative of the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM), the European Commission, Business Europe and Eurocham Morocco. This high-level meeting represents the shared desire of Moroccan and European economic operators to support political actors in the development of the Morocco-EU relationship and to discuss ways to make the economic and commercial partnership even stronger, more resilient and more fruitful. added value and growth, reports MAP. Speaking on this occasion, the Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis, stressed that this first Morocco-EU business dialogue constitutes “an important step”, noting that the EU and Morocco “maintain today today have strong and well-established trade and economic ties”. “Total two-way trade in goods amounted to more than €43 billion in 2021, the highest level ever, and we have a stable trade in services. However, there is much more we can do, especially for support the green and digital transition of our economies”, he said. In this regard, he clarified that “EU companies and investors recognize Morocco’s potential”, noting that they are eager to strengthen their relations, underpinned by solid legal and commercial frameworks. “From an EU perspective, we are ready to discuss how to modernize the free trade area, specifically focusing on how we can facilitate additional and more sustainable foreign direct investment,” said- he observes. For his part, the Minister of Industry and Trade, Ryad Mezzour, indicated that the Morocco-EU Business Dialogue is an opportunity to further strengthen the important commercial relations between the two parties and to expose the impressive evolution of Morocco during the last 20 years. And to recall that Morocco has taken “exceptional steps” and put in place “strong” sectoral strategies which are beginning to bear fruit, confirming the positioning of Morocco which is today able to meet all the challenges of the era. current situation and to respond to local but also European and African strategic challenges. As a result, Morocco represents a safe and reliable partner and an attractive land of investment for Europe and for all partners throughout the world who are strongly interested in the assets of the Kingdom, the minister underlined. The president of the CGEM, Chakib Alj, for his part, insisted on the need to modernize the Morocco-EU Association Agreement, which dates from 2000, so that it can take into consideration Morocco’s progress and the new economic realities, in particular those generated by the Covid-19 pandemic and by the tensions in Eastern Europe. He also underlined the central role that the Moroccan and European private sectors can play in strengthening the Morocco-EU partnership and continuing to build a shared, strong and resilient neighborhood. Mr. Alj then focused on the strategic priorities of Moroccan and European business leaders, namely better access to markets, green transition, the resilience of value chains and Euro-African development, before insisting on the urgency of joint action. During this meeting, discussions identified a number of challenges faced by economic operators in the context of investment and trade between Morocco and the EU. The private sector has clearly expressed its desire not only to protect the Morocco-EU trade relationship but also to update it. The discussions also focused on the opportunities to be seized, particularly in terms of innovation, digital and sustainability. The CGEM and Business Europe had adopted, last September, a trade and investment modernization pact between Morocco and the European Union which is based on 8 pillars. These are investment, the agreement on the reduction of non-tariff barriers for industrial products, including an agreement on mutual recognition of regulations and standards, services and transport, professional qualifications, customs matters, VSME, business climate and food security.