Morocco and Italy intend to establish a ministerial partnership forum and a business forum to consolidate diplomatic and economic ties.
Rabat – Morocco has adopted an “openness to progress and modernity” under King Mohammed VI, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said Wednesday during a meeting with his Moroccan counterpart, Nasser Bourita.
The two officials met in Rome as part of Bourita’s official visit to Italy, which aims to strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries.
The two officials said during the meeting “mutual ties of friendship and respect” unite the two nations and create a positive dynamic of bilateral relations, according to a press release from Morocco’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Bourita and Di Maio also discussed the multidimensional character of relations between the two countries and means to create appropriate mechanisms for dialogue and cooperation. In particular, the two officials agreed to set up a ministerial partnership forum.
They also said they intend to establish a business forum to “facilitate contacts and agreements between companies and economic institutions of the two countries.”
In addition to strong diplomatic and security relations, Morocco and Italy have remarkable trade ties.
The period from January to August 2019 saw an increase in collaboration between Italy and Morocco.
In terms of economic cooperation, the European country is Morocco’s fifth top trading partner, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in February.
Italian products represent 5.3% of Morocco’s overall imports. Moroccan imports from Italy include petroleum products, machinery, and textiles.
Italy, meanwhile, accounts for 4.2% of Morocco’s exports.
Italy’s imports from Morocco include cars, accounting for 34.2% of its Moroccan imports, followed by fishery products (20.9%), parts and accessories for vehicles and engines (14.5%), and clothing (8.2%).
During the most recent meeting in Rome, the two foreign ministers pledged to further expand trade and economic ties, with the common interest of growth and the well-being of the Moroccan and Italian people.
Morocco, Italy, and culture
In addition to common economic interests, Di Maio and Bourita discussed the cultural and human contributions of the people of the two countries.
The ministers believe both communities play a role in the rapprochement between the two countries.
In 2018, Italy recorded nearly half a million Moroccan residents, making Moroccans the largest non-EU immigrant community in the country.
Moroccans began migrating to Italy in the 1970s, and the Moroccan population reached a significant level in the 1990s.
Like other Muslim communities in Italy, Moroccans benefited from several initiatives to protect the practice of Islam, such as the inauguration of the Mosque of Rome in 1994, Europe’s largest.
In September 2017, the University of Al Quaraouiyine in Fez and the University of Siena signed a cooperation agreement to create a new field of study specialized in training imams at the Italian institution.