A new economic agreement between Israel and Morocco is set to upgrade bilateral trade and lay the foundation for business relations between the two countries.
The deal is expected to be signed by Israel’s Economy and Industry Minister Orna Barbivay and Morocco’s Industry and Trade Minister Ryad Mezzour on Monday.
Barbivay will travel to Morocco on Sunday and visit Rabat, Casablanca and Marrakesh, where she will hold a series of meetings with ministers, senior government officials and senior members of the business community.
“Morocco is very important for Israel diplomatically, economically and culturally. I am going there to lay the necessary economic infrastructure for productive bilateral trade. Despite the existing commercial ties and the fact that Israeli industry is already in Morocco, the scope of economic cooperation is only partial relative to its potential, the realization of which will significantly contribute to the economic well-being and growth of both countries,” the Israeli minister said in a statement.
It is the first economic working visit since the resumption of diplomatic relations between Israel and Morocco, the Economy Ministry said on Thursday. Barbivay will be accompanied by her husband, attorney Moshe Barbivay, who was born in Morocco and emigrated to Israel in 1958 when he was 3.
Israel and Morocco have been looking for ways to expand their cooperation ever since the North African nation joined the Abraham Accords and established full diplomatic relations with Israel in December 2020.
Bilateral trade between Israel and Morocco amounted to approximately $70 million in 2021 with around $12.2 million in exports and $57.2 million in imports. Israel exports primarily transportation products, plastic and rubber products, and chemicals to Morocco. Imports are mainly textiles, agricultural products and transportation products.
Earlier this week, Israeli media reported that Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will supply the Moroccan military with missile-defense systems in a deal worth more than $500 million. The Moroccan government first considered the purchase following a visit by Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz to the country last November.
In the field of tourism, The Media Line reported that Morocco expects to see at least 200,000 Israelis visiting the country by the end of the year. The north-African country reopened its borders to tourists on Feb. 7 following a two-month closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.