Rabat – As the Chinese New Year quickly approaches, it appears good tidings have arrived early in Rabat. Following the 6th session of the Morocco-China Joint Committee for Economic Cooperation on Thursday, representatives from both countries announced a broad commitment to increased economic partnership moving forward.
Moulay Hafid Elalamy, the Moroccan minister of industry, investment, trade and the digital economy, met with visiting Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Qian Keming to discuss possible future areas for bilateral cooperation, with a particular emphasis on infrastructure construction and the creation of new industrial parks. Following the proceedings, Chinese Ambassador to Morocco S.E. Li Li stressed the importance of political trust between the two nations, noting “the higher the level of mutual political trust, the more fruitful bilateral cooperation will become.”
These talks aimed to further strengthen Sino-Moroccan relations, which have already reached an all-time high in recent years.
In June 2016, King Mohammed VI waived visa requirements for Chinese nationals visiting Morocco during his visit with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping in Beijing, which resulted in a 760% increase in Chinese tourism to Morocco over the next fourteen months. Late last year, Chinese firms announced a new investment of $11 billion into the creation of “Mohamed VI Tangier Tech City,” a new factory district that aims to generate 100,000 new jobs in the Tangiers area.
This increased Chinese activity in Morocco as of late is situated within a larger effort by the Chinese government to increase its role as both an economic and political stakeholder on the African continent. At the 2015 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Summit in Johannesburg, China committed to providing $60 billion of funding to African nations, effectively tripling its previous investment in the region.