A week before the first direct commercial flight between Tel Aviv and Rabat, and with it the materialization of the normalization of relations between Israel and Morocco, both countries have signed a cooperation agreement on investment and finance.
Last week four bilateral agreements were signed between Israel and Morocco, focusing on direct air links, water management, connection of financial systems and a visa exemption agreement for diplomats. On Monday, Morocco and Israel also discussed the prospects for industrial cooperation and partnership in five sectors.
But the agreement signed today is the first economic agreement between the two countries. The Finance Minister, Shira Greenberg, signed this agreement while participating in the Israeli delegation in Rabat to promote bilateral relations following the normalisation agreement.
Under the agreement, the two countries have agreed on several areas of economic cooperation, including a bilateral effort to reduce investment barriers, increase cooperation and exchange information in the fields of financial regulation, prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorism, as well as the promotion of several international conventions to benefit activity in the private sector.
Israel and Morocco also agreed to establish a joint economic team and outlined agreements to be signed between the respective ministries and financial regulatory agencies of the countries.
Greenberg said that, "Morocco has joined a number of countries in the region with which we have signed agreements in the field of investment and finance". He said the agreements "will help to increase the growth potential of Israel and the region". "We believe that there is a possibility of increasing trade with Morocco by around 500 million dollars a year. The signing of the agreement last night is the first necessary and important step to promote the realisation of this potential".
The signing of this agreement also coincides with a telematic meeting that took place today between the Moroccan Minister of Industry, Moulay Hafid Elalamy, and the Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry, Amir Peretz. Elalamy shared the announcement via his Twitter account: "This morning I held distance talks with my Israeli counterpart, Amir Peretz, on the prospects for bilateral industrial cooperation". The sectors identified include textiles, the food industry, applied research in industry, green technologies and renewable energy, he added.
The interview between Elalamy and Peretz focused mainly on the prospects for fruitful cooperation between the two countries, based on economic progress and responding to development priorities and strategies.
Israeli media also confirmed that a Moroccan delegation is in Israel laying the foundations for the reopening of a liaison office in the Jewish state. Morocco closed its liaison office in Tel Aviv in 2000, at the beginning of the second intifada.
This visit was already announced last Saturday by the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in a statement in which he said: "Yesterday I agreed with the King of Morocco during our telephone conversation yesterday that a Moroccan delegation will arrive in Israel at the beginning of the week, in order to open a liaison office in preparation for the opening of an embassy and the launch of a direct flight route between the two countries".
On 10 December the American president Donald Trump announced the normalisation of relations between Morocco and Israel, with the consequent recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara. Since Trump broke the news the agreements between these countries have only increased, and the United States has not been left out of the game either. Morocco has reached an agreement with the US that includes the purchase of US weapons, drones and precision-guided ammunition worth $1 billion. An exchange of favours that is intended to benefit all the players economically.