A large Belgian business delegation of 460 businessmen, entrepreneurs, and ministers arrived in Morocco on Sunday, November 25.
Rabat – Led by Princess Astrid of Belgium, the delegation are exploring Morocco’s trade opportunities. The visit will conclude with a signing ceremony for a series of agreements and memoranda of understanding.
On Sunday, Morocco’s Princess Lalla Meryem, King Mohammed VI’s sister, received the Belgian princess as a representative of King Philippe of Belgium.
The audience took place in the presence of Belgian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Didier Reynders.
The delegation’s agenda includes discussions on trade, the signing of agreements, and collaborating on banking, eco-construction, and women’s entrepreneurship and technology, according to Belgian outlet Le Vif.
Secretary of State for Foreign Trade Cecile Jodogne told the press before her departure to Morocco that “Brussels is at the forefront in these three sectors, which explains the interest of this mission, both on the Brussels side and on the Moroccan side.”
Hub.brussels CEO Isabelle Grippa said that women are taking a key role in the trade mission and one in five people in the Brussels delegation is a woman.
During their trip, which will continue until November 30, the delegation will visit Casablanca, Rabat, and Tangier.
The Belgian economic mission is in line with Moroccan-Belgian determination to give a new impetus to diplomatic partnership and cooperation between Morocco and Belgium.
The official trip also aims to boost trade between the two countries.
During their visit, members of the delegation are also set to meet with Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani and Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita.
Morocco is Belgium’s 44th biggest export destination and its 61st import supplier, according to the Belgian Agency for Foreign Trade.
The agency estimated exports of Belgian companies to Morocco at €889.7 million and imports at €332.8 million in 2017.
The major Belgian exports to Morocco include base metals (22 percent), machinery and appliances (20 percent) and chemicals (15 percent).
Moroccan exports to Belgium are primarily chemicals (40 percent), food products (10 percent), and textile products (10 percent), according to the Belgian agency.
At the end of the first six months of 2018, Belgian exports to Morocco amounted to €439.3 million, representing a 2 percent increase over the same period of 2017. Meanwhile, imports of Moroccan products dropped to €172 million, a decrease of 6.6 percent compared to the same period of 2017.
Last week, Belgian Ambassador to Morocco Marc Trenteseau said during a press conference for the event that bilateral trade is lower that its economic potential.
He added that the mission’s main objective is to revive the economic relations of the two countries.
Belgian business representatives also shared a positive view of Morocco’s economy, saying that it has undergone a profound transformation over the last 20 years.
The visit was organized by the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Foreign Trade Agency in collaboration with Brussels Invest & Export, Flanders Investment & Trade, and the Walloon Agency for Export and Investment (AWEX).