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Vietnam & Morocco share interests

Released at: 10:14, 14/10/2018

Vietnam & Morocco share interests

H.E. Ambassador Farhane Azzeddine (Photo: Hai Van)

Ambassador of Morocco to Vietnam, H.E. Farhane Azzeddine, tells VET's Hai Van about relations between the two countries.

Can you explain in what way Morocco and Vietnam have close relations? In what sectors has the relationship been closest recently?

Morocco and Vietnam have a shared history and economic similarities. Indeed, since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1961, Morocco and Vietnam have enjoyed a profound traditional friendship and historical bilateral relations. Their foundations are laid on the shared historical memory, rooted in the heroic actions of Moroccan soldiers who joined the Liberation Army of Vietnam to fight for independence from 1946 to 1954.

This historical memory is not merely an individual or a private experience; it is a part of the collective domain of historical heritage that Morocco and Vietnam have in common, and which is still embodied, to today, in “Morocco Gate”, in the Ba Vi region 80 km from Hanoi; a beautiful monument built by Moroccan soldiers on Vietnamese soil and with Vietnamese materials, inspired by the Moorish architectural style of Moroccan imperial cities.

This year, during celebrations of the 57 years of diplomatic relations, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco, in cooperation with the Institute for Africa and Middle East Studies (IAMES), co-organized an International Seminar on “Cultural Diversity for National Unity and Territorial Integrity: Sharing Experiences between Vietnam and Morocco”, followed by the organization of the 5th Session of the political consultation and the 4th session of the Joint Committee, under the co-chairmanship of the two Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs, during which the Vietnamese side reiterated that it appreciates the comprehensive cooperation with Morocco.

Thus, the current momentum of this relationship between the two countries will be maintained, sustained, and strengthened through other initiatives in various areas, especially in promoting economic relations, which fall short of our expectations. It is worth mentioning that cooperation in the field of tourism is promising, as Morocco and Vietnam share a variety of similarities and tourism potential, in terms of stability, geographical position and reception facilities. In this regard, the promotion of cooperation in the field of tourism between Morocco and Vietnam was at the center of a roundtable organized on March 29 in Hanoi, under the theme “Potential Cooperation between Morocco and Vietnam in the Promotion of Tourism”. It was an opportunity for both sides to explore the prospects for cooperation, by promoting the exchange of information on respective tourism products as well as on ways to jointly develop new forms of cooperation in tourism and the hotel industry.

What sectors are Moroccan investors favoring in Vietnam and why?

The increasingly dynamic economy of Vietnam, its diversity, and the steady performance of its numerous ecosystems is very much attractive to Moroccan companies, particularly those that have accumulated robust experience in the fields of banking, renewable energies, fertilizer production, and pharmaceuticals. These specific sectors have the greatest potential for growth and investment for Moroccan companies in Vietnam. Other sectors such as telecommunications equipment, information management machinery, and industrial textiles could also be of interest to Moroccan investors.

Regarding the potential of cooperation in the field of fertilizers, Morocco’s OCP Group, a global leader in the phosphate and fertilizers industry, is present all around the world, through representation offices in France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Turkey, India, Brazil and Argentina, and is planning to open new offices in the US, Côte d’Ivoire, United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Beijing. It also has processing units in the US, France, Belgium and India.

It also launched Performance Phosphate Products, a new range of products that are adapted to customer needs, including delivery-related logistics services. The establishment of a joint venture between the OCP Group and the PetroVietnam Fertilizer and Chemicals Corporation could be studied and explored in the future.

How many Moroccan enterprises or organizations invest and cooperate in Vietnam?

Moroccan companies are very much interested in investing in Vietnam, primarily in agri-food, information technology, pharmaceuticals, and tourism.

The Moroccan Office for the Promotion of Trade and Export has undertaken a series of trade and B2B missions to Vietnam in order to establish contact between Moroccan and Vietnamese enterprises and explore opportunities for cooperation.

Morocco and Vietnam have substantial potential for cooperation in investment and trade. The two have signed more than 15 agreements to enhance the legal framework for investment in myriad fields.

Investors from both countries should seize the attractive conditions and the positive business climate, as affirmed by the World Bank’s “Doing Business Report 2018”, which ranks Vietnam in 68th place, following improvements in the business environment and thanks to the country’s broad-based growth, low wages, and strong economic outlook.

The Doing Business report also ranked Morocco 69th among the 190 countries surveyed, with a score of 67.91 points, consolidating its leadership in North Africa compared to Tunisia (88th), Egypt (128th), and Algeria (166th).

It also ranked third among countries in the Middle East and North Africa, behind the United Arab Emirates (21st) and Bahrain (66th), and for the first time overtook Oman (71st).

The results achieved by Morocco are due to its attractive business environment, tax advantages, business creation, simplification of procedures, and the improvement and strengthening of online services for the benefit of business and cross-border trade.

What specific cooperation is there between Vietnam and Morocco in culture, economics, and politics?

Cooperation between Vietnam and Morocco is going through an upward trend. Morocco hopes to increase the scope and depth of bilateral cooperation in all fields, including at the economic level, which has many untapped opportunities, especially in this era of Industry 4.0.

At the cultural level, cooperation between Morocco and Vietnam is founded on mutual respect. Cultural cooperation agreements and memoranda of understanding between Morocco and Vietnam constitute the legal framework for bilateral cultural relations.

The Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco in Hanoi encourages contacts between Moroccan and Vietnamese representatives in culture and informs experts about cultural networks in both countries, and also facilitates the participation of artists in cultural events in Morocco and Vietnam.

In this respect, and within the framework of the activities of the Hue International Festival 2018, from April 27 to May 2, a Moroccan Gnawa musical troupe honored the city and took part as the only Arab and African troupe, along with European and Asian bands.

At the political level, relations between the two countries have witnessed important developments, thanks to the ascending pace of high-level delegation exchanges at the governmental and parliamentary level. In this regard, the visit by Mr. Phung Quoc Hien, Vice President of the National Assembly, to Morocco in July 2017, and the visit by the President of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Kingdom of Morocco, Mr. Habib El Malki, to Vietnam in December 2017 were the latest major milestones in fostering political and parliamentary cooperation between the two countries.

Likewise, the Morocco-Vietnam Parliamentary Friendship Group, established in 2016, illustrates the willingness of the two countries to further their friendly ties and strengthen their cooperation in various fields of interest, allowing for the sharing of experiences and good practices and contributing to the sustainable development of both countries.

It is worth mentioning that the organization of an international seminar in Hanoi, on November 14, 2017, at the School of Law (VNU), on “Administrative Decentralization and Advanced Regionalization: Sharing Experiences between Morocco and Vietnam” was a crucial point for providing a holistic view, by Moroccan and Vietnamese UN experts and professors, of the administrative decentralization concept, its genesis, its conditions of implementation in Morocco and Vietnam, as well as the dynamic generated by the constitutionalizing of the new advanced regionalization model in 2011 Moroccan constitution, following the submission to the UN of the “Moroccan Initiative for Negotiating an Autonomy Statute for the Sahara Region”.

At the economic level, relations between the two countries are very promising. Vietnam, through its strategic location in Southeast Asia and as a member of the emerging ASEAN Economic Community, offers large perspectives of promising economic cooperation with Morocco, which is considered a genuine and effective gateway to access Africa for Vietnam and for it to benefit from African market trade, economic potential, and opportunities.

The steady positive evolution of political relations between Morocco and Vietnam combined with the new economic dynamic enjoyed by both countries constitute an opportunity to further develop trade through joint ventures, partnerships, and cooperation agreements in the fields of agri-food, tourism, finance, renewable energies, pharmaceuticals, and aquaculture.

Finally, I would like to underline that within this dynamic of openness of Morocco to ASEAN countries, Morocco signed, in September 2016, the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation (TAC) and submitted its action plan, in February 2018, for requesting Sectoral Dialogue Partner (SDP) with ASEAN.

What should the Vietnamese Government do to attract Moroccan enterprises?

Vietnam’s strong and stable economic performance has made it one of the most promising emerging economies in the medium and long terms. The business environment offers numerous opportunities for investment. Moroccan enterprises and potential Vietnamese partners need formal frameworks to establish contact and discuss possibilities for business and investment projects.

To this end, the embassy is working in concert with Vietnamese authorities on establishing a Morocco-Vietnam Business Council, as agreed at the 4th session of the Joint Committee of Cooperation. The objective is to provide access to information, facilitate communication and provide insight to potential partners from both countries, and create a new atmosphere that would encourage the business communities of the two countries to engage in mutually profitable relationships. The organization of meetings and seminars on economic opportunities, as well as sectoral exhibitions, can also contribute to creating the new economic dynamic needed for boosting economic and commercial exchanges between Morocco and Vietnam.

On the other hand, Vietnamese companies willing to invest in or export their products to Morocco should initially contact the economic section at the embassy. The embassy will be happy to provide all Vietnamese businesspeople interested in the Moroccan market with the necessary information and guidelines, so they may conduct business smoothly. The embassy’s website is also a good source of information on Morocco’s economic panorama and the opportunities offered for businesses, and can be found at www.moroccoembassy.vn.

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