France touts trade partnership with Morocco amid tensions
Morocco World News | 9th February 2023
By Safaa Kasraoui
Rabat - The French government has touted trade cooperation with Morocco amid diplomatic tension affecting the Rabat-Paris bilateral ties.
On Wednesday, the French embassy in Rabat posted data on Morocco-France trade cooperation as part of new statistics presented recently by Olivier Becht, Minister Delegate to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs on France’s foreign trade in 2022.
According to the data, trade between Morocco and France increased by 24% in 2022 to reach €12.4 billion.
“The trade deficit has been reduced sharply from 1.5 billion euros in 2021 to 432 million euros in 2022,” the data shows.
The same data indicates that French exports to Morocco increased by 40%, to reach €6.5 billion last year.
French imports from Morocco also increased by 12.1% to reach €6.9 billion.
Commenting on the new figures, the French embassy said that the new numbers reflect the “vigor of the partnership” between the two countries.
The post touting trade cooperation between the two countries comes amid ongoing diplomatic tensions between the two countries due to visa issues and France’s ambiguous position on Morocco’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over Western Sahara.
On January 3, a French news outlet acknowledged that ties between Morocco and France have turned cold due to many political challenges.
“Praised in official speeches, the ‘exceptional partnership’ between France and Morocco is stained by a rise in tensions over visa restrictions, eastern Sahara, and Emmanuel Macron’s renewed courtship of Algeria,” the news outlet said.
Many observers have also linked MEPs close to Macron’s office to the recent hostile resolution adopted by the European Parliament.
On January 19, the European Parliament released a resolution, which interfered in Morocco’s domestic affairs and challenged the country’s human rights advances.
About 356 voted for the resolution, while 32 voted against it, and 42 abstained.
President of the Moroccan-European Union (EU) joint parliamentary committee Lahcen Haddad accused some MEPs from France are “annoyed” at Morocco’s diplomatic and security gains and accused them of being behind the resolution.
The recent resolution sparked outrage and uproar, with many Moroccan MPs calling for vigilance and strong mobilization to counter hostile campaigns that have been targeting the North African country.