This high-level meeting represents the shared desire of Moroccan and European economic actors to support political actors in developing Morocco’s relationship with the EU and to discuss ways to make the economic and trade partnership even stronger, more resilient and fruitful . value and growth.
Speaking at the opening of this meeting, DOMBROVSKIS emphasized that “this first business dialogue between the EU and Morocco was an important step. The EU and Morocco today have strong and well-established trade and economic ties: total bilateral trade in goods exceeded €43 billion in 2021, the highest level ever, and we have a stable exchange of services. However, we can do much more, in particular to support the green and digital transition of our economies.”
He added that “EU companies and investors recognize Morocco’s potential. They are eager to strengthen their relationship backed by strong legal and business frameworks. Today’s Business Dialogue will facilitate these important discussions. From an EU perspective, we are ready to discuss how to modernize the free trade area, focusing specifically on how to facilitate complementary and more sustainable foreign direct investment.”
The president of the CGEM, for his part, insisted on “the need to modernize the Association Agreement between Morocco and the EU, which dates back to 2000, in order to take into account the progress Morocco has made under the impetus of His Majesty King Mohammed VI. May God bless him, the new economic realities, especially those caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and by tensions in Eastern Europe, such as the rise in commodity and freight prices.”
He also underlined the pivotal role that the Moroccan and European private sector can play in strengthening the partnership between Morocco and the EU and continuing to build a shared, strong and resilient neighbourhood. 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 concerted action.
Pierre GATTAZ, for his part, stressed “the need to adapt the EU-Morocco Association Agreement to the commercial realities of the 21st century and to the needs of companies in key areas such as the digital economy. . In the current context of growing geopolitical risks it is important for Europe to diversify its markets and Morocco is a natural partner”.
This Morocco-EU business dialogue was marked by a panel discussion with the participation of Badr ALIOUA, Chairman of the CGEM International Commission, Abir LEMSEFFER, Chief Coordinator of CGEM Relations with European Institutions and Deputy Director General of ‘Azura, Hakim MARRAKCHI, Chairman and CEO of Maghreb Industry, Mia LAHLOU GIANCARLI, CEO of Pharma 5, Edwin SLUISMANS, Vice-President of EuroCham Morocco, Khalodoun BOUACIDA, CEO and Head of the South African Region North and West of BASF Morocco and Bassim BENNANI, Chief Nokia’s North and West Africa Marketing Officer.
The exchanges made it possible to identify a number of challenges that market participants face in the context of investment and trade between Morocco and the EU. The private sector has clearly expressed a desire not only to protect but also to update trade relations between Morocco and the EU. The discussions also focused on the opportunities to be exploited, in particular in the areas of innovation, digital and sustainability.
As a reminder, last September the CGEM and BusinessEurope adopted a modernization pact for trade and investment between the Kingdom of Morocco and the European Union, based on 8 pillars: investment, the agreement on the reduction of non-tariff barriers to industrial products including a mutual recognition agreement for regulations and standards, services and transport, professional qualifications, customs matters, VSMEs, the business environment and food safety.