One of the council’s main goals is to begin to address the trade imbalance.
The head of the council, Mohammad Al-Hamady, told Asharq Al-Awsat that “preparations for this forum are complete. The joint business council will undertake the work that has been agreed in the framework of developing Saudi–Moroccan relations, which will be taken to the fullest strategic level.”
He noted that the total volume of trade between the two countries amounted to roughly SAR 12 billion (USD 4.4 billion) in 2011, with Saudi Arabia exporting far more to Morocco than it imports.
Hamady added that economic and trade relations between the two countries have been growing steadily, with Morocco becoming Saudi Arabia’s sixth-largest trading partner.
Saudi Arabia is the third-largest foreign investor in Morocco, according to Hamady. He affirmed that funding from the Gulf country for Moroccan development projects would reach USD 1.2 billion over the next five years.
He believes that the two countries will be able to act on many of the investment opportunities. However, he also feels that the volume of trade reflects neither the size of these opportunities nor the ambitions of businessmen in the two countries.
Hamady attributed the failure to exploit all potential trade opportunities to transport problems and the lack of maritime transport lines between the two countries.
To that end, the Saudi-Moroccan Business Council will enter the operational stages of forming a maritime trading company during the meeting. It had previously announced that direct sea routes between the two countries would be established.
The council will also highlight investment opportunities available in several sectors of the Moroccan market, particularly in tourism and construction.
The council has also noted that lack of information available in both countries about investment opportunities. To this end, the trade delegations will seek to establish a database of investment opportunities at Sunday’s conference.
Hamady stressed the need to strengthen the role of both Saudi and Moroccan businessmen, upgrade the volume of commercial exchanges, and increase joint investment projects, explaining that a dedicated shipping line would help achieve these requirements.