Rabat – Morocco’s Ambassador to India, Mohamed Maliki, has underlined the need for Morocco and India to tap into the “enormous” potential for trade that exists between the two countries.
Morocco and India already enjoy excellent, constantly evolving bilateral political relations, the ambassador said. Trade, however, must be improved to match this standard.
In a statement quoted by Morocco’s state media, Ambassador Maliki recalled that Moroccan-Indian relations significantly improved after King Mohammed VI visited India and 2015 and met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Moroccan King and the Indian PM agreed to elevate the two countries’ bilateral relations into a strategic partnership.
However, five years later, officials from both countries have recognized that there is still room for improvement in terms of bilateral trade.
Over the past decade, trade between Morocco and India averaged at $1.6 billion per year, according to Ambassador Maliki. He said India is one of the biggest beneficiaries of Moroccan public investment in Asia, particularly in the fertilizer and pharmaceutical sectors.
Indian investors, on the other hand, are drawn to Morocco for its political stability, strategic geographical position, and progress in terms of improving the business climate.
Ambassador Maliki said India and Morocco are making “remarkable efforts to bring their business communities closer together,” according to Morocco’s state media.
The diplomat recalled the Indian and Moroccan foreign ministers’ signing of a protocol related to eased business visa procedures in February 2019.
Morocco and India would also benefit from increased strategic cooperation, Ambassador Maliki continued.
India has advanced experience in several areas including technology, space, medicine, automotive, and textiles. Morocco, meanwhile, has recognized experience in food safety, renewable energies, and the fight against terrorism.
Morocco is also a major player in Africa, a continent with which India is keen to develop stronger ties, the diplomat underlined.
The COVID-19 crisis illustrated the benefits of Indian-Moroccan cooperation, with the South Asian country sending tons of medicines and other products to its strategic partner in North Africa.
As well, close coordination between Moroccan and Indian authorities enabled the repatriation of Moroccan and Indian nationals who were stranded abroad by the pandemic.
The Moroccan ambassador is confident that COVID-19 is not a hindrance to cooperation but rather a springboard to further improve ties between India and Morocco.
Maliki conveyed similar remarks in May, calling for strengthen cooperation between Morocco and India after the COVID-19 pandemic. He stressed that greater investment in bilateral partnerships would be beneficial for both countries.
One month prior, India’s Ambassador to Morocco, Shambhu S. Kumaran, expressed hope for a fruitful future of bilateral trade.
Ambassador Kumaran said he expects trade between India and Morocco to remain on a growth trajectory but recognized that trade value may decline in 2020 compared to earlier trends.
The Indian ambassador highlighted three promising areas of India-Morocco trade: Health and pharmaceuticals, IT and the digital economy, and agriculture.
“The global COVID-19 crisis should encourage businesses in both our countries to actively explore new forms and partnerships opportunities across sectors,” the Indian ambassador stated.