Morocco aims to attract more investment from Gulf states

Updated 25 February 2014
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Morocco aims to attract more investment from Gulf states

Morocco aims to strengthen its trade and economic partnerships with the UAE, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.
Mohammed Abbou, minister of industry, trade,investment and digital economy of Morocco, told Arab News that his country has plans to build more ports, airports, highways, rail and express ways to attract more investment from the Gulf and Middle East.
“Morocco is platform for Europe, Middle East, Africa and ideally situated as an export platform for the EU market, US East Coast and other markets. Moreover, we have a dynamic and growing industry with a liberal and beneficial policy to the investments,” he added.
“The UAE is the second largest food market in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), just behind Saudi Arabia. We have strong trade relationships with Saudi Arabia and we intend to increase it in the future through various accords,” added Abbou, who is currently in Dubai to participate Gulfood exhibition.
“This show, Gulfood, is considered one of the most important events in the sector of food and beverages in the Middle East, constituting the preferred meeting place for traders and buyers in the food processing industry. More than 65 Moroccan companies are participating this event with a wide range of Moroccan products, including fresh fish and seafood, marinated fish, frozen fish, canned fish and anchovies, canned vegetables, frozen fruits, olive oil, argan, couscous and pasta, juices and beverages, spices, tea and infusion, margarine, chocolate and candy,” he explained.
He said that the UAE imports totaled $3.6 billion in 2010 and expected to reach $5.5 billion in 2015. The majority of these imports is negotiated through Dubai. The UAE ports represent a majority of 61 percent of the volume of trade between the GCC countries.
“To boost exports to the Middle East, we intends to tackle two fronts: Diversification and gain new market share,” he said.
“ Today, in a challenging international environment, the characteristic of the target countries is that they are all experiencing strong growth in comparison with the rest of the world over a large potential for import. However, there is a great potential in several areas. Each country wants a commercial platform with expanded retail networks, multinationals and renowned businesses. The challenge of Morocco is to play synergies between Morocco as a hub of the Maghreb, the various FTAs signed and these import-export platforms to the Mashrek. Among the sectors and supply represented through this mission include services, leather & textile, food processing, seafood, the pharmaceutical industry, construction and information technology,” he said.
Figures indicate that the UAE imports about 90 percent of their food needs and raw materials. Imports of food products amounted to AED19.6 billion. Its main suppliers are India, the United States, Brazil, Iran, Pakistan, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and Argentina. The peculiarity of the market of UAE is that nearly 50 percent of imported food products are exported to 160 countries.
“The food processing industry remains a strategic sector in Morocco because of its crucial role in the economic, social and environmental angles. In fact, this sector contributes on average 16 percent of GDP through its agricultural upstream and 4% with respect to agroindustrial downstream for about 10 percent to total exports and nearly 44 percent of employment,” Abbou added.


Oil prices rise after tanker attacks stoke Middle East tensions

Updated 14 min 54 sec ago
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Oil prices rise after tanker attacks stoke Middle East tensions

  • Second time in a month tankers have been attacked in the world’s most important zone for oil supplies
  • Washington blames Iran for Thursday’s attacks

TOKYO: Oil prices rose on Monday after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington will take all actions necessary to guarantee safe navigation in the Middle East, as tensions mounted following attacks on tankers last week.
Brent futures had climbed 26 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $62.27 a barrel by 0314 GMT. They gained 1.1 percent on Friday.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 17 cents, or 0.3 percent, at $52.68 a barrel. They rose 0.4 percent in the previous session.
Prices had jumped as much as 4.5 percent on Thursday after the attacks on two oil tankers near Iran and the Strait of Hormuz.
It was the second time in a month tankers have been attacked in the world’s most important zone for oil supplies as tensions increase between the United States and Iran. Washington blamed Iran for Thursday’s attacks, prompting a denial and criticism from Tehran.
“We don’t want war. We’ve done what we can to deter this,” Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News Sunday, adding: “The Iranians should understand very clearly that we will continue to take actions that deter Iran from engaging in this kind of behavior.”
Tensions between Iran and the United States have risen since US President Donald Trump pulled out of a deal last year between Iran and global powers that aimed to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions in exchange for sanctions relief.
Iran has repeatedly warned it would block the Strait of Hormuz if it cannot sell its oil because of US sanctions.
“Growing tensions in the Middle East remain a cause for concern as traders fear supply disruptions over an escalation toward militaristic conflicts,” said Benjamin Lu, an analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.
Also supporting prices were comments over the weekend by the Saudi energy minister, Khalid Al-Falih, that OPEC would probably meet in the first week of July and he hoped it would reach an agreement on extending oil output curbs.
“We are hoping that we will reach consensus to extend our agreement when we meet in two weeks time in Vienna,” Falih told reporters while attending a G20 energy and environment ministerial meeting in Karuizawa, northwest of Tokyo.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries plus Russia and other producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, have a deal to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from Jan. 1. The pact ends this month and the group meets in coming weeks to decide the next move.
US energy companies also cut the number of oil rigs operating for a second week in a row, with production growth expected to slow as crude prices fell to near their lowest levels of the year.