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Morocco is a strategic and stable partner for Spain

The new edition of Banco Sabadell's Cycle of International Business Conferences offered valuable information for companies wishing to invest in the Alawi kingdom
La nueva entrega del Ciclo de Jornadas de Negocio Internacional del Banco Sabadell ofreció información valiosa para las empresas que deseen invertir en el reino alauí AFP/FADEL SENNA

AFP/FADEL SENNA  -   The new edition of Banco Sabadell's Cycle of International Business Conferences offered valuable information for companies wishing to invest in the Alawi kingdom

Banco Sabadell organised a new webinar to accompany Spanish companies with a presence abroad and operating internationally. The Cycle of International Business Conferences offers a macroeconomic vision of a specific country or geographical area, and provides practical information on the services offered to companies interested in setting up or doing business. 

On this occasion, the country chosen was Morocco, where Banco Sabadell established itself in 2009 after a decade of relations with local financial institutions and whose mission is to support Spanish companies with a presence and commercial interests in the country, offering its knowledge and experience at each stage of the expansion process.
 

La nueva entrega del Ciclo de Jornadas de Negocio Internacional del Banco Sabadell ofreció información valiosa para las empresas que deseen invertir en el reino alauí

The webinar was moderated by Mireia Pont, head of web content at Banco Sabadell, and presented by Carlos Dalmau, Director of International Solutions at Banco Sabadell, who thanked the more than 800 people who followed the event for their interest. Dalmau also stated that in a context such as the current one, in the midst of developing strategies for post-COVID recovery, Morocco offers interesting opportunities. 

Abdelghani Elbahy, Director of Banco Sabadell Morocco, began by highlighting some of Morocco's strengths. It is currently the 78th largest economy in the world in terms of GDP, and in the last decade it has had a sustained growth of 4%, with the exception of 2020 due to the pandemic. It is also the 53rd largest exporter in the world and is a major player in the agri-food and textile sectors. 
La nueva entrega del Ciclo de Jornadas de Negocio Internacional del Banco Sabadell ofreció información valiosa para las empresas que deseen invertir en el reino alauí

The Maghreb country has undertaken a series of structural reforms to modernise its economy, some of the most important being those undertaken to digitalise public administration and thus speed up the flow of business. 

For Spain, he stressed, Morocco is a strategic partner, stable and open to the outside world. Spain has more than 1,000 companies operating there in various sectors thanks to the competitive operating costs offered by the country. It ranks ninth as a destination for Spanish exports and its weight has been increasing over the last decade, reaching 8,939 million dollars in 2020. 
But, logically, the pandemic has also taken its toll on the Moroccan economy, causing a 7% drop in GDP in 2020, with the worst figure recorded in the second quarter of last year with a 15% drop, due, among other causes, to the confinement measures and the country's dependence on trade flows from the EU. 

Despite this, the World Bank, in reports presented recently, places Morocco among the emerging economies best positioned to recover, thanks to measures that the authorities have put in place to alleviate the negative effects of the health crisis. The activation of state-guaranteed credit lines, free loans for the self-employed and the establishment of aid for employees in sectors that are experiencing difficulties are some examples of the measures taken.
La nueva entrega del Ciclo de Jornadas de Negocio Internacional del Banco Sabadell ofreció información valiosa para las empresas que deseen invertir en el reino alauí

Since November, new cases of infection have been declining and the government is maintaining night-time confinement. 10% of the population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 0.4% would be fully vaccinated. In his case, with vaccines from Sinopharm (China), Oxford/AstraZeneca and Serum Institute of India. 

According to Elbahy, Morocco's strengths include its proximity to Europe, favourable trade and diplomatic relations with the EU and the United States, its productive diversification strategy, the receipt of remittances from emigrants and the use of IMF credit lines, and the controlled exchange rate linked to the evolution of the euro and the dollar. 

On the other hand, he pointed out that the high dependence on the agricultural sector and the European economy, the high levels of poverty and unemployment, especially among the young population, the high inequality between urban and rural areas, the current account deficit and growing foreign debt, as well as the dependence on international financial aid, and regional instability are Morocco's greatest weaknesses and the most important challenges it has to face. 
La nueva entrega del Ciclo de Jornadas de Negocio Internacional del Banco Sabadell ofreció información valiosa para las empresas que deseen invertir en el reino alauí

Twelve years of face-to-face experience

Adolfo López Macías, commercial director of Banco Sabadell in Morocco, said that they have a 100% operational branch located in Casablanca, the financial capital of the country. The team of 20 multilingual staff (Spanish, Arabic, French and English) are at the service of companies for operations throughout Morocco. 

Sabadell has its own website (www.bancosabadellcasablanca.com) which allows customers to operate with maximum flexibility, using the same passwords they use in Spain. The Bank allows the opening of accounts both in dirhams and in other currencies (EUR, USD), issuance of guarantees with counter-guarantee received from Spain by Swift with special conditions for Sabadell customers, advice on financial products, intermediation with local customers and suppliers, and global management and monitoring of the customer's needs in coordination with the offices in Spain and the rest of the locations. In short, a wide range of financial products and operations available to companies. 

Credit policies, medium and long-term loans and the Commercial Discounting of Bills and Invoices (LCN) are the most widely used products. There are other products that may also be of interest to companies interested in public tenders, such as the Public Invoice Advance, in which the public company undertakes and guarantees payment by contract to the supplier of all invoices certified and validated by it. In this way, the Bank receives the public guarantee in order to be able to advance the certifications, as the payment is obligatorily made on the advance payment account.
La nueva entrega del Ciclo de Jornadas de Negocio Internacional del Banco Sabadell ofreció información valiosa para las empresas que deseen invertir en el reino alauí

Industrial Acceleration Zones

Formerly known as free trade zones, they changed their name following the new financing law passed in 2020. These zones are a good opportunity to invest thanks to the advantages they offer. Their mission is to boost the country's industry. 

They offer total freedom of exchange in commercial, industrial and service operations with foreign countries, exemption from import and export duties and taxes, as well as the possibility of opening accounts in both dirhams and foreign currency. There are also no limitations on the issuance of international transfers and there is the possibility to open accounts in both dirhams and foreign currencies o finance themselves entirely in foreign currency. In addition, companies located there pay less tax; for example, the general corporate tax rate is 31%, while in the Industrial Acceleration Zones companies are exempt from paying it for five years and from the sixth year onwards they only pay 15%.

Automotive, textiles, logistics, construction, engineering and aeronautics are the main sectors of activity in these zones. These sectors were also mentioned by Asmae Laroussi, Director of Business Banking at Banco Sabadell in Morocco. 
 

La nueva entrega del Ciclo de Jornadas de Negocio Internacional del Banco Sabadell ofreció información valiosa para las empresas que deseen invertir en el reino alauí

Laroussi explained the sectors of greatest opportunity, focusing on infrastructures, renewable energies and agriculture. These are sectors that the Moroccan authorities want to promote not only for the economy to grow but also to increase industrial participation in GDP, export capacity and reduce dependence on imports, and increase competitiveness in the international market. 

On the other hand, he referred to Morocco's strategic infrastructures, such as the Tangier-Med port, which is one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean and one of the top 35 in the world, and which is surrounded by three industrial zones, which is a great advantage. 

The development of a more efficient agriculture that increases the value of exports, reducing external energy dependence by promoting renewable energies and consolidating industrial development through advanced technology are some of the priorities of the Moroccan government for the period 2021-2025.