Landmark B&R agreement powers Moroccan dream

By Toumert Al Source:Global Times Published: 2017/11/23 22:53:39

Illustration: Peter C. Espina/GT


The day of November 17, 2017 will be recalled as a crucial moment in Sino-Moroccan relations for the next 30 years.

The landmark signing of a bilateral memorandum of understanding on the Belt and Road (B&R) initiative will bring the shared future of both countries into a new era.

Morocco has been a partner of China since Ibn Battuta made his famous voyage to the country in 1345, staying for about three years and bringing back a wealth of knowledge related to trade, governance, finance and culture.

In more recent times, King Mohammed VI of Morocco made two state visits to China. Those trips led to the signing of a joint statement on establishing a strategic partnership during his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2016.

During the same visit in 2016, the king said: "Morocco is willing to be an important cooperative partner of China in Africa and among the Arab states," according to the Xinhua News Agency.

Morocco has fully understood the importance of China since ancient times. The country has benefited from the Silk Road, as it was a hub for Chinese goods bound for Europe, the Americas and of course the Sahel region of Africa.

Now that China has become not only an economic power, but also a defender of globalization, sustainable growth and protector of a shared human destiny, Morocco sees the potential of teaming up with China to realize its dream.

As we were a stepping stage centuries ago for Chinese goods and culture to reach different parts of the world, today we can play an even more crucial role within the aspirations of 21st Century China and the B&R initiative.

Three key areas can lead to prosperous cooperation:

First, the kingdom of Morocco has set up strong investment and industrial platforms through its free trade zones in the north, middle and south of the country, all linked to Europe and Africa through air, land and sea routes. The free trade areas are similar to the ones in China, and they can integrate their operations so that manufacturers in China can use these facilities as logistics hubs in Africa with an eye on Europe, the Middle East and the Americas.

Second, cooperation also can focus on integrating the vast network of the Moroccan banking system within Africa to B&R transactions to ensure secure and stable remittances and payments across the continent.

Third, China has entered a new industrial era that focuses on technology and medium- to high-end products. This can be a good fit with Morocco's economic strategy of supporting the development of high technology, aviation, vehicles, finance and services.

We Moroccans are very keen to be part of the Chinese drive. We have a common interest in fair and equitable trade, respect of the sovereign rights of each state and especially the advancement of our shared human destiny.

The author is director of Education, International Bachelor Program at the International School under the China Foreign Affairs University.


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