March 30, 2023

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Question to Dr. Veli. Israeli dates at the Derb Mila market in Casablanca? — Valley of Israel

Since the political normalization of December 2020, Israel and Morocco have embarked on broad economic partnership projects that are struggling to materialize. The news site “Al-Araby Al-Jadid” investigates how Moroccans perceive this rapprochement.

If you ask for Israeli dates at the Derb Mila market in Casablanca, you will be told there are none. Merchants like Mohamed Al-Zagouri will confirm that they have never put them up for sale and that a customer has never asked for them. These are the dates of Arab countries – Morocco, Jordan, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates – to meet the demand this Ramadan.

It is precisely the Israeli dates that have called for a boycott in Morocco against the normalization of relations between Morocco and Israel. [signée en décembre 2020]. Behind the campaign is Sion Assidon, the Moroccan coordinator of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Considered the main Moroccan campaigner for sanctions against Israel, he also has Israeli shipping company ZIM in his sights.

Despite denials from the Moroccan government, he insists on it the middle [une espèce de dattes de gros calibre] He was from Israel. On the other hand, they would have been labeled as coming from a third country. According to Sion Assidon, this is evidence that the “origin of Israel” reference does not go down well with Moroccan consumers.

Thus, trade between the two countries may not have increased significantly since the signing of the Standardization Agreement. However, even before this agreement, Israel exported some goods to Morocco, especially in the agricultural sector – inputs, pesticides or seeds.

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At Derb Omar in Casablanca, Morocco’s largest market, Ahmed Aït al-Habib believes that acceptance of Israeli products is still unclear. [et que les choses pourraient évoluer] Considering the logistical issues and increasing demand across the globe.

However, when customers do not buy local products, they ask for products from countries with which Morocco has a free trade agreement and are considered cheaper due to the preferential treatment they receive in customs duties.

Multiply partnerships to quadruple exchanges

No matter, Israeli Economy Minister Orna Barbivai, who visited Morocco in February, announced her ambition to nearly quadruple annual trade from 130 million to 500 million dollars (474 ​​million euros).

As a result of the aspirations of the Israeli Minister of Economy, an agreement was signed to create industrial zones in Morocco to implement tripartite cooperation between the Kingdom, Israel and the United States. The text provides for participation in trade fairs and forums in both countries, promotional campaigns and development in the field of research and innovation.

Added to this was a memorandum of understanding on space cooperation between Morocco’s Minister of Industry and Trade Riyad Mesour and former Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz, who now chairs the council.

According to the Moroccan ministry, the protocol provides for the creation of a research and development center, explaining that it corresponds to this. “National Priorities” Relates to promotion for training, employment, local industry and development.

For more than a year and a half, contacts between businessmen of the two countries have increased, and there are agreements to create a joint Israeli-Moroccan commission and organize meetings and negotiations between the respective ministries. Finance to build economic relations.

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After a meeting organized in Tel Aviv, another meeting took place in Casablanca. According to Saqib Alj, president of the General Federation of Moroccan Enterprises, the discussions led to partnerships in the fields of agriculture, technology, water, pharmaceuticals, tourism, electronics and financial services, with around $500 million in investments expected.

According to Ron Tomer, head of the Israeli Chamber of Commerce, the reason for interest in Morocco is trade, with economic players wanting to sell their products and import raw materials.