Thursday, December 12, 2019
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Morocco looks to the Gulf as it steps away from Europe

Dubai: Morocco is diversifying its export market in a bid to develop trade with Gulf Arab countries and also reduce its reliance on Europe, a top government official said on Monday.

Mohammad Abbou, Morocco’s Minister of Industry, Trade, Development and Digital Economy, was speaking at the Moroccan pavilion in Gulfood.

The pavilion this year features 62 companies at an event pegged as the world’s largest food and beverage industry exhibition. Morocco first participated in Gulfood, which is hosting its 19th event, in 2011 with just 17 companies.

Abbou said there was a gross imbalance in bilateral trade with the United Arab Emirates. He said the UAE exports around Dh2 billion each year to the North African nation. However, it imports about Dh224 billion.

Moroccan imports to the UAE include tinned fish, coffee, tea, cheese, silver and DVDs, Abbou said. UAE exports are dominated by the oil and gas sector and also aluminum products.

Despite the imbalance, Abbou said that the UAE, and the Gulf, “is important to us” and that the government has expectations that trade relations will improve.

Moroccan trade has been traditional dominated with countries in Europe, despite the economic crisis that has continued to unfold over the last six years. Abbou said that Europe accounts for 60 per cent of Morocco’s trade.

He added that there were no targets on how much he wanted to see trade increase with the Gulf region but that he will be meeting with UAE importers of Moroccan goods during his visit in effort to boost trade numbers.