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Morocco, China celebrate 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties.

Summary: Morocco and China celebrate today the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties, while economic and trade relations still stumble over complex and lengthy red tape and suffer from unbalanced exchanges.

Morocco and China celebrate today the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties, while economic and trade relations still stumble over complex and lengthy red tape and suffer from unbalanced exchanges. <p>aa The two countries have built relations in 1958, only two years after Morocco got rid of the French colonizer, and despite the geographical distances and the ideological discrepancies, late King Mohammed V (grandfather of present king Mohammed VI) felt the need to build a diplomatic network around the world, without intermingling with the domestic affairs of Morocco's partner countries.

aa Official visits have flowed since then from both sides, but intensified in recent years especially with the visit of king Mohammed VI to China in February 2002, and of President Hu Jintao to Morocco in 2006.

aa However, trade relations remain unbalanced and dominated, to a large extent, by Chinese exports to Morocco.

aa At a time when China has managed to hoist its position to the fourth trade partner of the north African kingdom in 2008, Morocco is still seeking a place in this 1.3 billion-inhabitant strong market.

aa Between January and August of this year, China's exports to Morocco totaled 11.138 Moroccan Dirhams ($1.28bln), from a volume of $135mln in 1992 that put the country at the 12th place among Morocco's exporters.

aa Morocco's exports remain way weaker with a total of only $77mln exported to China in the year 2005, which places the Asian country as Morocco's 20th client.

aa Moroccan businessmen are pinning this weak export volume to China's complex administrative procedures that block the entry of Moroccan goods, but also to the fact that the Moroccans are rather interested in importing Chinese products at lower prices.

aa Being the biggest importer and exporter of phosphates, China inked in 2005 an agreement with Morocco - which has 70 percent of the world's reserves - to import some 750,000 tons of phosphates a year between 2007 and 2011.

aa Throughout the past years, the two countries have also developed good economic ties that allowed for the creation of 26 joint ventures mainly in the field of fisheries. A number of Chinese businesses are also working on infrastructure projects in the north African country, with contracts that amounted, by the end of 2007, to some 1.5 billion dollars.

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Publication:UMCI News (Potomac Falls, VA)
Date:Nov 2, 2008
Words:432
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