Saudi Minister of Commerce Majid al-Qasabi has stressed the need for business owners to draw up a clear roadmap for economic relations between Saudi Arabia and Morocco, revealing joint opportunities in Africa and Europe.
Qasabi was speaking at the Saudi-Moroccan Economic Forum and Business Council held in Casablanca, with the participation of the Moroccan Minister of Industry and Trade, Riyad Mezzour.
The Forum included the participation of 130 companies from both countries to advance the economic partnership, boost trade cooperation, and accelerate investments in the targeted sectors.
Mezzour explained that the volume of trade exchange between Saudi Arabia and Morocco is still modest, and the goal is to increase it to $5 billion in the coming five years, which he believes is possible in light of the vast opportunities and capabilities of the two countries.
He called on Saudi investors to benefit from 670 industrial projects in Morocco.
Chairman of the Federation of Saudi Chambers (FSC) Ajlan al-Ajlan said that the exchanged official visits and the economic agreements helped achieve rapid trade growth in recent years.
Ajlan reported that during the first half of 2022, the trade exchange reached $2.5 billion, higher than the entire exchange in 2021, valued at $1.3 billion.
He said joint investments doubled significantly over the past years in various economic sectors such as industry, real estate, tourism, and agriculture.
He added that the Federation, through the Business Council, seeks to bring about a qualitative transformation in economic relations by studying and analyzing trade and investment opportunities and the competitive advantages in the Saudi and Moroccan economies.
Meanwhile, the President of the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises, Chakib Alj, said there were about 250 Saudi companies in Morocco, while there are only 20 Moroccan companies in Saudi Arabia.
Alj indicated that the current economic conditions necessitate joint action to enhance food security by developing agriculture and establishing new integrated value chains based on innovation and sustainability.
He added that the Forum constitutes an opportunity to identify means that would develop companies and enhance their activities outside the Moroccan and Saudi markets, calling for easing administrative restrictions and non-tariff barriers and establishing a Moroccan-Saudi fund to facilitate trade and investment.
Meanwhile, Qasabi met Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch and six ministers from various sectors. Saudi Ambassador to Morocco Abdullah al-Ghurairi accompanied him.
The meeting discussed ways to enhance joint economic and trade cooperation, empower the private sector and develop investments between the two countries.
The meetings come as part of the minister's four-day official visit to Morocco, heading a government delegation with the participation of officials from 14 government institutions and representatives from the private sector from over 62 Saudi companies.
Furthermore, the Saudi Exports Development Authority organized a trade mission to Morocco under the identity of "Saudi Made," in conjunction with the Moroccan-Saudi Economic Forum organized by the Federation of Saudi Chambers in cooperation with the General Authority for Foreign Trade.
Saudi Exports, through this mission, targets several sectors, most notably construction, food, medical, and auto spare parts.
It witnessed the participation of about 20 Saudi companies and more than 200 companies from Morocco within the Authority's strategy to expand the base of Saudi products and enhance its regional presence.
As part of its strategy, the Authority seeks to identify and promote international business opportunities and connect exporters with buyers as part of the positive indicators and the increase in trade between Riyadh and Rabat.
It also comes in implementing the government's directives to support and develop relations between the two kingdoms, instill brotherly and historical ties and increase the commercial exchange volume.