Morocco’s Ambassador to Portugal, Othmane Bahnini, stated that Morocco and Portugal will kick off their 14th High-Level Meeting Friday, May 12, in Lisbon, assuring that this Meeting will launch a new phase in the Morocco-Portugal relations and will give a strong impetus to bilateral cooperation.
Held under the theme “Morocco and Portugal: an Exemplary Strategic Partnership,” Bahnini stated that this meeting will serve as an opportunity to reflect the two countries’ commitment to promoting their relations to higher levels through the launch of several structural projects in different areas.
The Moroccan ambassador noted that Morocco attaches high importance to this partnership, which highlights the excellent, exemplary relations between the two countries, and reflects the Enlightened Vision of His Majesty King Mohammed VI that aims to place Portugal among the top 10 economic and trade partners, stressing Morocco’s commitment to strengthening its relations with Portugal to the highest level.
“Morocco and Portugal possess significant assets and potential that should be exploited, particularly in the automotive, renewable energy, and textile sectors, which are experiencing major growth, especially in research and innovation,” explained Bahnini.
The Moroccan diplomat also added that “it is necessary to exploit to the fullest our common potentials and aspects of mutual economic integration in the upcoming years, and take advantage of growth opportunities in the region, so that, together, we become regional economic champions.”
In a similar context, Bahnini highlighted the dynamism of economic exchanges between Morocco and Portugal, noting that the two countries must “benefit from their economic synergy.”
Bahnini recalled, in this regard, the increase in trade between Morocco and Portugal, despite the international situation following the repercussions of the health crisis, noting that Moroccan exports have increased by 20% while imports increased by 30%. The diplomat also noted that Morocco is Portugal’s first partner in the Arab world and Africa and the second, outside of the European Union (EU), following the US.
The Moroccan ambassador also highlighted the excellent, longstanding, and historical relations uniting the two countries at numerous levels, emphasizing that this strategic partnership has already been strengthened since the establishment of the Morocco-Portugal Business Council in November 2021, which is co-chaired by Karim Amor and the President of the Confederation of Portuguese Business, Armindo Monteiro.
In this regard, Bahnini explained that the mission of the Council is to develop a roadmap to strengthen economic relations between the two countries, boost mutual investment and partnership, and promote trade.
The Moroccan diplomat also stated that a Morocco-Portugal Economic Forum will be held on the sidelines of the high-level meeting, adding that this forum will witness the attendance of approximately 60 Moroccan economic actors representing several sectors, notably automotive, plastics, digital, and sustainable economy.
The Economic Forum, organized under the theme “Morocco and Portugal: Together to Build Prosperous Economies and Common Growth,” will include bilateral meetings to discuss cooperation and investment opportunities in the two countries.
The Moroccan ambassador said that to preserve their deep-rooted relations, Morocco and Portugal will celebrate next year the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship in 1774, which is considered one of the oldest bilateral agreements.
Bahnin recalled, in this regard, the signing of the Agreement of Good Neighborliness, Friendship, and Cooperation in 1994, a document representing the foundation for holding thirteen High-Level Meetings between Morocco and Portugal.
The Moroccan diplomat affirmed that the cultural aspect will also be present in discussions around bilateral cooperation, noting that this year will witness the organization of two important events by the Portuguese National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC) in partnership with the Moroccan National Foundation of Museums (FNM).
The First event is a retrospective exhibition of plastic arts, which will be held at the National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC), while the second exhibition will feature the works of famous Portuguese artist Maria Helena Vieira da Silva.
To conclude, the Moroccan ambassador addressed the importance of Morocco’s joint bid with Portugal and Spain to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup, considering it a significant step towards establishing a common vision with a strong impact on economic growth in the three countries and achieving common goals.