Business Briefs: Moroccan Design Show Impresses American Designers; Offshore Exploration Moves Forward; China; Morocco Trade Week in Casablanca Builds Solid Deals; Boeing Gets 787 Order from RAM; and ADNOC and OCP Ink Deal – Jean R. AbiNader

Jean R. AbiNaderMATIC
January 3, 2018

Jean R. AbiNader, Exec. Dir., Moroccan American Trade and Investment Center

Jean R. AbiNader, Exec. Dir., Moroccan American Trade and Investment Center

Moroccan designers garner accolades from their American counterparts at the fifth annual Min Yadina trade show that highlights the country’s artisanal home décor and crafts. In an article in Home Accents Today, a number of them commented on the quality and diversity of Moroccan artistry. The show is held under the high patronage of King Mohammed VI in collaboration with the Federation of Artisan Enterprises. The US delegation was arranged by Home Accents Today and included several publications as well as designers who “visited craft and heritage sites in Rabat, Marrakech and Casablanca, overloading our senses with the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of one of the world’s most exotic cultures.”

In Rabat, the show focused on the government’s efforts to develop and promote the handicrafts sector as a key priority for employment through increased exports. Adil Bentaleb, adviser to the Ministry of Handicrafts noted that Morocco’s interest in reaching the US market is recent, as it is a $10 billion market and Morocco only exports some $12 million worth of products currently. He said that the Moroccan display “Will be at NY Now in January and August, at the October 2018 High Point Market, and are hoping to get to Las Vegas. We are looking forward to growing our trade relationships there — handicraft is the best ambassador of our culture, traditions and lifestyle.”

Maison De L’Artisan (House of the Artisan) promotes Moroccan handicrafts through around 12 trade shows and exhibitions annually in Morocco, as well as events and participation in international fairs, according to Bentaleb. Abdallah Aadnani, the director general of Maison De L’Artisan, said “he finds the U.S. market interesting not only from a business and commercial point of view, but also because of the growing popularity of Moroccan style and the image the country has in the US, according to the article.

“We are aware of the popularity of Moroccan style and products in the US, and have seen it in our export numbers over the last four years. We are encouraging artisans to participate in exhibitions in the United States, and this is why we decided to organize this trip with people of your caliber that have your access to markets, people that have experience like yours, and people that have expertise in the home decor market. We’re not looking only to bring Moroccan handicraft to the US market, but we also want to introduce Moroccan traditions and culture into American home decor.”

The Moroccans also see their efforts as part of the kingdom’s larger role in promoting African products abroad. “This is why we’re trying to build bridges between us and the United States, and with all markets and people who are interested in the ethnic, authentic, and matrimonial objects and culture of our country … and handicraft is one of the best ambassadorial links between us.” As importantly, According to Aadnani, the sector employs some 2.3 million Moroccans, including many women.

The article noted that “While December’s Min Yadina trade show marked the event’s fifth installment, it was the first time a group of professionals from the American home decor industry had been invited to attend as an official delegation.”

Offshore exploration permit awarded to ENI, to explore offshore in the Tarfaya area. It will hold a 75% stake with ONHYM, the national agency for hydrocarbons, will hold 25% of the project. The area is comprised of some 24,000 square kilometers of shallow offshore waters currently divided into 12 separate drilling areas. ENI believes that the area has high hydrocarbon potential.

China and Morocco welcomed increased trade opportunities at the recently concluded China Trade Week in Casablanca. More than 100 Moroccan and Chinese companies took part in the B2B three-day event, which around 4,000 people attended. Spurred by the One Belt-One Road economic strategy for global conquest by China, it showcased Chinese companies across many sectors from basic textiles and home goods to high end machinery and electronic products. Trade Week events have been held previously in the UAE, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, and Ethiopia.

Boeing gets Christmas gift from RAM when the Moroccan national carrier placed an order for four state-of-the-art 787-9 Dreamliners to expand its international service at a cost of some $1.1 billion. Already in service to US and Latin American destinations, the new equipment, which will bring Morocco’s Dreamliner fleet to nine, will enable RAM to increase tourism and business traffic to Morocco.

“With more than 850 flights per month to Africa, Royal Air Maroc has the broadest presence across the continent of any airline,” said Abdelhamid Addou, CEO and chairman of Royal Air Maroc. He added that “Ordering new-generation planes such as the Dreamliner puts our airline on the right track to fulfil our vision to become the leading airline in Africa.”

RAM has the largest Boeing fleet in Africa, including 737s, 767-300ERs, 787s and a 747-400 jet. Boeing has several joint ventures and training centers in Morocco, and looks to enhance its presence in Africa via RAM’s visibility. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is its most advanced next-generation, super-efficient airplane.

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) signed a long-term agreement to supply OCP with sulphur needed for its processing units. OCP is the world’s largest importer of sulphur. The UAE giant, which currently supplies around 2 million tons of sulphur to OCP, will increase its exports through to 2025, according to the agreement. The oil company is one of the world’s largest producers of sulphur, as a result of its significant reserves of sour gas, which, after processing, yields sulphur as a byproduct. Its sulphur production currently stands at 6 million tons a year.

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