Morocco, China Discuss ‘Next Steps’ of Cooperation Against COVID-19

Morocco, China Discuss ‘Next Steps’ of Cooperation Against COVID-19. Photo:

Rabat – Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita and China’s State Council and Foreign Minister Wang Yi discussed means to take their cooperation against COVID-19 to the next level.

Bourita had a telephone conversation with the Chinese FM on Thursday as part of the two countries’ commitment to work together in the fight against COVID-19.

On August 20, Morocco and China National Biotec Group Limited (CNBG) signed an agreement to carry out COVID-19 vaccine trials. 

The agreement is first for Morocco in the field of clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Under the agreement and as part of the growing ties between Rabat and Beijing, Morocco hopes to be among the first countries to receive doses of a China-made COVID-19 vaccine. Like many countries, Morocco has made the search for a vaccine a top priority following the surge of COVID-19 cases across the country.

Casablanca alone confirmed over 2,000 cases on Thursday, marking a record-breaking of more than 4,000 COVID-19 cases.

The North African country warned that the situation is worrying, but it is now in negotiations with several companies to secure vaccine doses as soon as they are available and duly tested. 

In addition to cooperation against COVID-19, Bourita and his Chinese counterpart also discussed the promotion of bilateral relations.

After King Mohammed VI’s 2016 visit to China, Rabat and Beijing vowed to strengthen bilateral cooperation with private institutions, notably in the fields of  industry and tourism.

Between 2016 and 2019, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Morocco reached 350,000 annually after Morocco’s decision to remove a requirement for visa.

Trade cooperation between both countries also witnessed a boost after the royal visit.

Morocco’s exports to China stood at $283.21 million in 2019, Trading Economics reported.

The exports include Ores, slag, and ash, copper, wastes of food industry, animal fodder, salt, sulphur, earth, stone, plaster, lime, and cement, coffee, tea, mate, and spices, and electronic equipment.

In 2018, the Moroccan Ministry of Industry announced that China was Morocco’s 3rd trade partner with a total trade volume of MAD 39.5 billion in 2016.

Chinese direct foreign investment in Morocco reached MAD 362.5 million  in 2016 and amounted to MAD 582.4 million for the first  six months of 2017.

During their phone conversation, Bourita and Wang Yi also discussed development of cooperation in a wide range of fields, including political dialogue, economic cooperation, cultural, and human exchanges.