Economy

Macron's Visit to Morocco Highlights Close Economic Relations Between France and Morocco

By Fatan Abaali

Rabat - Following the visit of French president Emmanuel Macron to Rabat earlier this week, French newspaper Le Figaro has published a set of numbers and facts concerning the two countries, demonstrating Morocco's key position in France's economy.

The paper points out that the French prefer Morocco as a destination for settling abroad, as the total of French citizens residing in Morocco have risen to reach nearly 52,000 in 2016, an increase of three percent compared to 2015.

Le Figaro adds that the Moroccan community residing in France amounted to 1.5 million, 670,000 of which hold double nationalities.

The same figures highlighted that, due to a lack of security in countries such as Tunisia and Egypt, French tourists have abandoned these countries, choosing countries like Morocco instead. The Moroccan touristic sector has come out more flexible and resilient, with an estimated 3.3 million French tourists having visited Morocco in 2016.

In foreign trade, Le Figaro's figures confirm that since 2012 France has been Morocco’s second business partner after Spain, and that in 2015 the value of exports from France to Morocco reached EUR 4.273 billion,with imports at EUR 4.249 billion.

The French newspaper says that the recovery of the market is attributable to the grain exports of France, and that Moroccan imports are completely meeting the needs of the French market. Consequently the imports and exports of France have seen a rise of 4.1 percent and 13.6 percent compared to 2015.

Similarly, Moroccan imports of transport equipment have risen to 12.4 percent, while food industry products imports have risen to 7.3 percent. Moroccan exports of agricultural products, seafood, silviculture, and aquaculture have risen by 64 percent, and cereals by 72 percent.

France is considered the number one foreign investor in Morocco, with a foreign direct investment (FDI) balance of EUR 11.9 billion in 2014, which equals nearly half the FDI of Morocco, as well as 750 French companies gathering over 80,000 employees. According to the latest National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) data of tricolor multinationals, 55 percent of these companies relied on industries, while 33 percent relied on services.

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