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Trade between Spain and Morocco reaches record figures

In 2021, Morocco exported more than 7 billion euros to Spain. This is 14.6% more than the previous year, according to data published by the Spanish embassy in Rabat
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REUTERS/YOUSSEF BOUDLAL  -   Vegetable market on the outskirts of Casablanca

The Alawi country imported 9.5 billion euros from our country in 2021. This is 29.2% more than the previous year. These figures represent 2.1% of Spain's world share of imports. The trade curve between the two nations has had a positive trend since 2016, but with a slight drop in 2020 due to the crisis caused by COVID-19.

In the same year, exports to Spain reached €6.37 million, compared to almost €7 million in the previous year. The same goes for imports as these amounted to €7.35 billion, while in 2019 the gains made were €8.45 billion.

The Spanish Federation of Associations of Exporting Producers of Fruit, Vegetables, Flowers and Live Plants (FEPEX) estimated that Spanish imports of fresh fruit and vegetables from Morocco reached 220,771 tonnes in the first half of 2021. These figures represent a 2% improvement compared to the same period last year. 

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AFP/FADEL SENNA - A fashion worker from Still Nua works in a textile factory in an industrial park connected to a free trade zone in the Moroccan city of Tangier.

In the following months, Spain imported 437,670 tonnes of fruit and vegetables worth more than 650 million euros. Moroccan tomatoes, apart from watermelon, are the second most imported fruit. The Spanish market has almost 59,000 tonnes of these products, in addition to avocado, kiwi and blueberry. 

Amongst the non-European suppliers, Morocco occupied first place in 2021, followed by Costa Rica and Peru. Between January and April of the same year, non-European countries supplied Spain with 51% of its total imports of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Madrid is Rabat's largest trading partner and trade between the two territories accounts for almost a third of Morocco's foreign trade. For its part, the Kingdom is Spain's main African client and its second largest client in the world outside the European Union.

EU imports from Morocco to Europe reached almost 1.5 million tonnes in November 2020. The EU purchased more than 770,000 tonnes of vegetables increasing by 4% compared to 2019. The most purchased foods were tomatoes and green beans.

During the 2019 marketing year, 32,800 tonnes of avocado were exported. The international organisation imported 610,849 tonnes in 2020, 18% more than in the months before the pandemic. Watermelon, raspberries and blueberries were among the main foodstuffs brought into the continent from the African country. 

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AFP/FADEL SENNA - Automobile assembly line at the Renault-Nissan Tangier car assembly plant in Melloussa

The European Commission, in its report on the short-term outlook for agricultural markets, estimates "the decrease in fresh tomato production at 2% in 2021 [...] due to the 10% drop in production in Spain, the main tomato producer in the European Union". Thanks to this, Morocco has regained shares of the European market for this foodstuff.

The problem that the Kingdom's economy will have to face is the negative effects caused by the war between Russia and Ukraine. Both countries are important trading partners and depend on their cereal exports. Mustapha Baitas, spokesman for the Alawi government, says the conflict will have a major impact on commodity prices.

According to the Bureau de Change, "Moroccan imports from Ukraine were estimated at 2.697 billion dirhams in 2021. Wheat accounts for 42 per cent of these imports, which is one of many commodities that are becoming more expensive. Africa imports two-thirds of its wheat from Moscow and Kiev. The price per tonne rose by $15 last January and inflation is expected to rise by 30 per cent as attacks intensify.