On September 8, Morocco’s national airline Royal Air Maroc (RAM) inaugurated thrice-weekly non-stop flights between Washington Dulles International Airport and Casablanca with a water cannon salute and ceremony, signaling growing commercial ties between the US and Morocco. Until now, passengers traveling between Washington and Morocco had to fly through New York — RAM’s first US destination, or catch a different connecting flight abroad.
“Royal Air Maroc is thrilled to launch the only non-stop service between Washington, DC and Casablanca. We are equally excited about deploying the state-of-the-art Boeing 787 on this important route,” said Mr. Abdelhamid Addou, Royal Air Maroc’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, in a release.
“Royal Air Maroc’s new Boeing 787 Dreamliner service to Casablanca, Morocco, provides passengers another important destination from Dulles International, the region’s international gateway airport,” said Mike Stewart, the Vice President of Airline Business Development at Washington Dulles International Airport.
Seattle-based Boeing has had a presence in Morocco since at least 2001, when the company became a co-founder of Morocco Aero-Technical Interconnect Systems (MATIS) Aerospace, which produces parts and engines for Boeing jets and employs 850 people in Casablanca.
Boeing is just one of many US companies with strong commercial ties to the United States. In fact export data pulled from the International Trade Administration (ITA) shows that average US exports to Morocco have more than tripled since the US-Morocco Free Trade Agreement (FTA) went into effect just over a decade ago. In the three years before the FTA (2003-2005), US exports to Morocco averaged $482 million; in the past three years (2013-2015), they increased 328 percent to $2.1 billion. The US’s biggest exports to Morocco include petroleum, aerospace and automotive parts, and food products; and the US imports primarily fertilizer, electric machinery, and certain agricultural products from the country.
In recent years, Morocco has successfully positioned itself as a gateway for US companies to African and European markets, and through aggressive economic reforms has become a top destination for foreign direct investment in Africa. Earlier this year, Morocco was named by the 2016 Bloomberg Innovation Index among the 50 most innovative economies in the world and one of just two such in Africa. The results echoed the findings of many industry reports of recent years. In 2014, the Wall Street Journal’s Frontiers/FSG Frontier Markets Sentiment Index reported that Morocco is among the top ten frontier markets — and the only one in the Maghreb — most favored by foreign corporations. KPMG International and Oxford Economics’ 2015 Change Readiness Index (CRI) ranked Morocco as the most “change-ready” country in the Maghreb, with particularly positive results in the category of “enterprise capability.” The World Bank’s Doing Business 2016 report ranked Morocco first out of 20 MENA countries in terms of “ease of starting a business” and placed it sixth overall in the region for “ease of doing business.”
“This direct connection has been centuries in the making. Morocco is quite literally the US’s oldest friend, and houses the only US National Historic Landmark located in a foreign country. Morocco was the first country to recognize US independence and continues to be a strong ally and partner,” said former US Ambassador to Morocco Edward M. Gabriel.
The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials, and interested publics in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.
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