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Morocco, China sign agreement to implement ‘Belt and Road Initiative’

January 6, 2022 at 8:56 am

Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita in Rabat, Morocco on June 24, 2021. [Jalal Morchidi – Anadolu Agency]

Morocco and China signed, on Wednesday, an agreement on joint implementation of “Belt and Road Initiative” reached in 2017, which stipulated establishing a trade and infrastructure bridge linking Asia to Europe and Africa, news agencies reported.

Nasser Bourita, Moroccan Foreign Affairs Minister, and Ning Jizhe, Vice Chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission signed the deal virtually.

Bourita commended the cooperation between the two countries and said that signing the deal comes as one of “the first diplomatic activity” of 2022.

The Moroccan Foreign Minister emphasised that partnership between the two countries “was not born yesterday,” but “it is supported by long-standing diplomatic relations” that proved “strong solidarity” between both of them.

Ning Jizhe said that the Belt and Road Initiative “carries a spirit of peace and cooperation,” adding that Morocco and China enjoy steady, friendly relations.

The Chinese official reiterated that such an agreement will open corridors for other areas of cooperation.

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Jizhe shared data on trade cooperation between the two countries, pointing that it is expanding. “Currently, the direct investment from China to Morocco reaches $380 million,” he said, noting that most of it “goes to infrastructure, mobile parts, telecommunication and fishery.”

He added: “In 2020, the bilateral trade reached $4.76bn with a 2 per cent increase compared to the previous year, even with COVID-19 Pandemic and a recession in international trade.”

Belt and Road Initiative is a deal that aims to revive the historic Silk Road on land and sea by establishing a trade and infrastructure bridge linking Asia to Europe and Africa.

It also seeks to expand Chinese companies’ presence in Africa. Morocco, with its geographical location, serves as a bridge between Europe and Africa.

2020 marked the 60th anniversary of cooperation between the two countries.