Photo Credit: Ministry of Economy and Industry
Israel's Minister of Economy and Industry Orna Barbivay (L) and Morocco's Industry and Trade Minister Ryad Mezzour.

Israel’s Minister of Economy and Industry Orna Barbivay signed an economic-commercial cooperation agreement on Monday with Morocco’s Industry and Trade Minister Ryad Mezzour, a bit over a year after the two countries announced the normalization of their relations.

The agreement regulates the trade between the countries and will facilitate exporters and importers, business delegations, and the establishment of a joint economic committee for the two countries that will promote the implementation of the clauses of the agreement.

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Barbivay, who signed the agreement while in Morocco, stated that the agreement is “intended to bring about economic growth and prosperity for Israel and Morocco.”

Her office is working to increase bilateral trade between the economies from $131 million to $500 million in the next five years, she said.

Mezzour crowned the Israeli visit as “groundbreaking” and said that it “created the opportunity for us to identify regions and channels for bilateral industrial and commercial cooperation and partnership. Together, we will embark on an intense, fruitful and beneficial partnership for both parties.”

Israel’s Foreign Trade Administration at the Ministry of Economy and Industry explained that the main points of the agreement are the development of economic and trade relations between the parties – the agreement stipulates that the parties will take all necessary steps to encourage cooperation in order to increase the volume of trade and cooperate to remove any barrier to normal economic relations, including discriminatory laws, regulations or procedures.

As for cooperation, it was agreed that the countries will facilitate each other’s participation in exhibitions and economic conferences, will collaborate in the field of professional and technological knowledge sharing, and will organize study tours, seminars, trade shows and visits of businessmen and trade delegations.

Finally, the agreement stipulates that the parties will establish a joint committee that will examine the implementation of the agreement, and examine ways and means to expand and diversify mutual trade relations.

Foreign Trade Administration Director Ohad Cohen said that his office has identified “great potential for bilateral commercial cooperation in digital health and medical equipment, water technology, agriculture, cyber and fintech, food security, green energy, air travel, food technology, smart transportation and more.”

Israeli exports to Morocco leaped by 192% in 2021, an apparent outcome of the signing of the Abraham Accords a year ago. The total sum in exports went from $8,763,000 in the first nine months of 2020 to $25,584,000 in the first nine months of 2021.

Data obtained by TPS from the Foreign Trade Administration shows that the main increase occurred in the “transportation products” sector, with $5,779,000 in trade in the first nine months of 2020, to $19,050,000 in the first nine months of 2021, three times the sales in the previous year.

Another sector that showed impressive growth is the mechanization and electronics sector, with $279,000 in the first nine months of 2020, to $1,274,000 in the first nine months of 2021.

Other export categories of Israeli goods to Morocco that showed a more modest increase were chemicals, pharmaceuticals and the chemical industry, and rubber and plastic products.

In December 2020, Israel and Morocco officially agreed to establish diplomatic relations, becoming the sixth Arab league member to recognize Israel and the fourth in the space of four months, following Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Sudan, to establish relations with Israel within the framework of the US-brokered Abraham Accords, the first pact signed between Arab countries and Israel in 25 years.

Before that, the two countries maintained informal ties.

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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.