France’s Minister of Trade, Franck Riester, said on Monday evening that his country does not fear a boycott campaign from Morocco.
Speaking with RTL Radio, the French minister affirmed in a confident tone that the partnerships between Morocco and France will continue to grow in the future.
“As soon as things are clarified between France and Morocco about the position of France regarding Islam, I have no doubt that our partnerships will continue to amplify in the future,” Riester said.
The trade minister made the statement after the talk show host, Thomas Sotto, asked him for a comment about Morocco’s recent statement condemning Islamophobia in France.
On October 25, Morocco’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounced the systematic publication of cartoons insulting Islam and Prophet Muhammad in France.
“Freedom of an individual ends where the freedom of others and their beliefs begins,” the ministry said in a statement.
Morocco was among the first countries in the Muslim-majority world to officially condemn the rise in Islamophobic acts in France.
While the Kingdom did not ask its citizens to boycott French products like Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did, Sunday’s statement led to questions about the future of Morocco-France relations, especially as Morocco is the European country’s third-largest customer in the Muslim-majority world.
In 2019, France exported goods valued at more than $5.34 billion to Morocco, according to UN Comtrade. In the Muslim-majority world, only Turkey and Algeria purchased more imports than Morocco.
“Do you fear a boycott from Morocco?” Sotto asked, to which Minister Riester replied, “No, I do not fear it.”
The trade minister recalled his recent visit to Morocco, from October 11-12. During the visit, Riester met with Morocco’s Minister of Industry and Trade, Moulay Hafid Elalamy.
Discussions between the two ministers focused on means to further boost bilateral trade. Both Elalamy and Riester expressed satisfaction with the level of cooperation between Rabat and Paris. They qualified Morocco-France relations as “exemplary.”