Seven bilateral agreements aim to strengthen Morocco’s “partnership with the Arab, European, and Asian space,” an official from the foreign affairs ministry said.
Rabat – The House of Representatives, or lower house of Parliament, adopted nine new agreements on Monday that serve to consolidate Morocco’s foreign policy.
The developments include two multilateral agreements on health and taxation, as well as seven bilateral agreements with Hungary, Jordan, Turkmenistan, Japan, and the UK.
The first multilateral agreement, Bill No. 09.20, approves the treaty concerning the creation of the AU’s proposed African Medicines Agency, adopted in Addis Ababa in February 2019.
Bill 75.19 approves the multilateral convention for the implementation of measures relating to tax treaties. The agreement, which Morocco signed on June 25, 2019, aims to prevent the erosion of the tax base and the transfer of profits.
The bilateral agreements the lower house approved include Bill 65.19, which concerns cooperation between Morocco and Jordan in the military and technical fields.
Jordan is a friendly partner of Morocco in the Middle East. Jordan supports Morocco’s Autonomy Plan for Western Sahara and backed the November 13 military action in Guerguerat. Multilateral cooperation between the two countries is strong in the fields of agriculture, energy, and tourism.
Another bilateral foreign policy bill concerns ties between Turkmenistan and Morocco. Bill 11.20 approves a trade, economic, technical, scientific, and cultural cooperation agreement between Morocco and the Central Asian country.
In March, Turkmenistan announced its support for Morocco’s territorial integrity and agreed to an action plan of bilateral cooperation in politics and diplomacy, legal cooperation, trade, and culture. The same month, Morocco’s phosphate giant OCP agreed to purchase sulfur from Turkmenistan’s national gas company Turkmengas.
Japan is another beneficiary of the new foreign policy agreements Morocco approved this week.
With Bill 33.20, Morocco and Japan seek to avoid double taxation of income and to prevent tax evasion and fraud. Ties are also set to benefit from Bill 34.20, approving an agreement on protecting and promoting investment. The countries agreed to both texts in May.
Morocco hosts 72 Japanese companies in the automotive, energy, chemicals, banking, and logistics industries. The companies employ more than 40,000 Moroccans.
In Central Europe, Morocco is expanding its foreign policy with Hungary. Bill 15.20 approves a convention on the transfer of sentenced persons between Morocco and Hungary, while Bill 14.20 approves a bilateral extradition agreement.
In recent months, Morocco and Hungary have also worked to strengthen bilateral cooperation in sectors such as water management, road infrastructure, higher education, and scientific research.
The UK is the final country that Morocco’s new foreign policy agreements concern. The lower house approved Bill 37.20 relating to the post-Brexit association agreement that Morocco and the UK signed in October 2019.
After signing, both countries pledged to uphold their “strategic relationship” by preserving current political, economic, judicial, and territorial benefits. The post-Brexit association agreement also means Moroccan and British products are guaranteed free access to each other’s markets.
After presenting the bills to the lower house, a minister delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nezha El Ouafi, described them as “part of the continuous dynamism of Moroccan diplomacy.”
The texts aim to diversify Morocco’s partnerships in various fields and consolidate the country’s diplomatic, political, and economic ties at the regional, continental, and international levels.
In recent years, Morocco has become a major player in the Asia-Africa strategic partnership process, El Ouafi continued. The North African country has grown to be a communication and liaison platform between the two continents.
The seven bilateral agreements aim to improve Morocco’s foreign policy and “partnership with the Arab, European, and Asian space,” she said. The two multilateral agreements, meanwhile, are part of Morocco’s bid to strengthen its consolidation of tax governance, in line with the principles of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).