Rabat – Officials from the US Department of Commerce and aerospace giant Boeing welcomed Morocco’s investment reforms and skilled workforce during a virtual conference on the sidelines of the 75th UN General Assembly.
US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and the Regional Director of Boeing in Morocco Douglas Kelly delivered the statements from Washington, D.C. to the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA).
Business climate reforms
US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross emphasized Morocco’s reforms to encourage foreign investment and improve the business climate, according to Morocco’s state media.
Morocco’s recent reforms include “the rationalization of customs procedures through the transition to the paperless mode, as well as the strengthening of the protection of minority investors,” he said.
Such reforms “will lead to continued growth for our two economies,” Ross stressed.
US exports of products and services to Morocco support some 12,000 American jobs. Attracted by the country’s economic and political stability, several American companies have secured a foothold in Morocco, Ross said.
As Morocco continues to lift trade barriers, he continued, the country’s investment and business climate will improve. In Ross’s telling, Morocco’s flourishing infrastructure, aerospace, defense, and energy sectors have cemented the country’s reputation with many American investors.
Ross welcomed the close social, economic, and cultural relations between Morocco and the US. “The US government is determined to deploy its resources to support initiatives that can deepen trade ties between our two countries,” he affirmed.
Boeing in Morocco
Echoing Ross’ points about Morocco’s burgeoning business sector, Boeing’s Douglas Kelly said the country has become a “valuable” partner for the American aerospace giant. The “facilities and business opportunities” in Morocco make “our partnership very valuable,” said the Boeing director.
Boeing considers Morocco’s skilled workforce a “big advantage,” he explained, highlighting that the country’s aviation industry “includes more than 130 companies that operate very successfully.”
Morocco’s relationship with Boeing dates back to 1970 when the national flag carrier Royal Air Maroc (RAM) acquired a Boeing 727. King Mohammed VI’s strategic vision for Morocco includes the development of its aerospace industry in line with Boeing’s North African objectives.
In 2001, Morocco and Boeing developed their relationship to include the manufacture of aerospace parts. Boeing partnered with RAM and Safran Electrical and Power to create Matis Aerospace. The company employs more than 1,000 people in Morocco and mainly focuses on manufacturing parts for Boeing and other aerospace companies.
In September 2016, Boeing and the Moroccan government announced plans for a Boeing industrial ecosystem in Morocco. The project aims to create 8,700 jobs and generate $1 billion by 2028.
Morocco and Boeing have made “remarkable progress” on this project, according to an October 2019 interview with Ihssane Mounir, Boeing’s vice president of commercial sales and marketing.
Since launching its Industrial Acceleration Plan in 2014, Morocco doubled its aerospace export turnover to reach MAD 17 billion ($1.83 billion).
In 2018, the aerospace industry employed more than 17,000 people in Morocco and generated a turnover of $1.2 million, with an annual growth rate of 18%.
As of 2019, 140 aerospace companies operate in Morocco. The country aims to increase this number to 220 by 2030.