image Photo: IAI

Israel, Morocco sign aerospace deal

The latest agreement comes as the two countries push for closer economic ties after normalizing ties as part of the United States-brokered Abraham Accords in 2020.

By Erin Viner

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Director Amir Peretz signed the pact during a ceremony in Rabat yesterday with Moroccan Industry Minister Ryad Mezzour.

While no details were released concerning specific projects the agreement might lead to or on the size of investments that it might cover, Peretz said IAI’s current agreement with Morocco is for purely civilian aerospace projects

Moroccan Industry and Trade Minister Minister Ryad Mezzour said the two countries will cooperate on potential projects in innovation, as well as airplane maintenance and transformation.

In February, Israeli Economy Minister Orna Barbivai  signed the trade and investment cooperation deal with Moroccan Minister Mezzour. Terms of the agreement include facilitation of trade and investments in the aerospace, automobile, agri-food, textile and pharmaceutical industries in particular, said Minister Mezzour, who said Morocco is also looking forward to cooperating with Israel in fields related to industrial research and development, and the establishment of industrial zones.

Rabat is seeking Israeli investment in the automobile, agriculture, textile, pharmaceutical and renewable energy industries.

Jerusalem is hoping to expand annual trade volume with Rabat to $500 million a year from its current level of $131 million, said Israeli Minister Barbivai, as both nations seek to deepen cooperation.

The two countries also inked a defense Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last November that includes intelligence and cooperation in military industries and procurement. Morocco is interested in purchasing Israeli-made drones and other arms, Israeli media reported at the time.

Next week representatives from Israeli business and export organizations will visit Morocco to discuss investment opportunities, said the Israeli mission in Rabat.

Moroccan aerospace exports rose by 22% last year to the pre-pandemic level of د. م. 1.54 billion dirhams (about $ 1.6 bln or €1.46bln), as manufacturers diversified into hi-tech engine areas.

The Moroccan government is encouraging greater investment in the country by aerospace suppliers in recent years, in hopes of matching its success in car manufacturing through the creation of hubs for the sharing of expertise and shortening of supply chains.

Morocco became the 6th Arab League nation to normalize relations with Israel on 22 December 2020, following similar pacts with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in September and Sudan in October that same year. The first Arab state to sign a peace treaty with Israel was Egypt in 1979, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in 1994.