Rabat — Morocco and China have given new impetus to their bilateral ties in 2017 in line with the strategic partnership that was established a year ago between the two countries.
In May 2016, visiting King Mohammed VI of Morocco and Chinese President Xi Jinping signed a joint statement on establishing a strategic partnership, offering new opportunities for bilateral cooperation in various areas.
Building on this move, the two countries signed in November a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on joint construction of the Belt and Road initiative during a meeting between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Nasser Bourita.
Partnership between Morocco and China was also cemented by joint ventures with Chinese companies this year.
In a landmark project, the Moroccan government, Morocco's BMCE Bank and Chinese Haite group signed in March a deal to invest one billion U.S. dollars to build an industrial and residential park in Morocco's northern city of Tangier under the name "Mohammed VI Tangier Tech City."
Spanning over some 2,000 hectares and planning some 100,000 jobs, the park will host hundreds of multinational and Chinese companies in numerous industries, including auto manufacturing, aerospace, aviation spare parts, electronic information, textiles and machinery manufacturing.
Few months after the inking of the park's deal, this ambitious project has already attracted a major player in auto industry, Chinese giant automaker BYD.
An agreement was signed between the government of Morocco and BYD earlier this month to build a factory to build battery-powered cars.
The plant will cover an area of 50 hectares, and is expected to employ 2,500 people.
Following in the footstep of Tangier Tech City, Morocco and the China Association for Industrial Cooperation (CAIC) have agreed in October to set up an economic zone in Fez offering a platform for various industries.
Given the growing auto-industry in Morocco, Chinese auto wheel manufacturer Citic Dicastal and automotive AC compressors Aotecar also signed deals with Morocco in December to open plants to supply automakers in the North African kingdom.
Chinese companies have been involved in a number of infrastructure projects, including some large-scale ones. After Chinese group Cover-Mbec built Africa's largest cable-stayed bridge in Rabat, China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) agreed in July with Travaux Generaux de Construction de Casablanca,
Morocco's leading construction company, to 250-meter-tall tower in the Moroccan capital of Rabat, which is expected to become the tallest skyscraper in Africa.
China ranks also in the third spot on the list of top importers. In 2016, Morocco imported some 3.9 billion U.S. dollars from China compared to 3.17 billion U.S. dollars in 2015.
One year from marking the 60th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations, the two countries are set to boost their bilateral relations and raise them to higher level.