Four months before the SelectUSA 2021 trade fair, which will virtually host foreigners wishing to invest in the United States from June 7 to 11, Médias24 questioned the new American Consul General in Casablanca on business opportunities for Moroccan investors. According to Lawrence Randolph, the commercial competitiveness of Moroccan products and services as well as the potential offered by the Morocco-USA free trade agreement are still too largely under-exploited.
– Media24: Why is the United States interested in Moroccan investors?
– Lawrence Randolph : As the new American Consul General in Casablanca, I must first say that I am proud to be in a city which is a dynamic crossroads for commerce, media, education and investment, not only in Morocco, but also in the region.
Indeed, with our 120 American companies, already present in Morocco, which employ more than 100,000 Moroccans, our strong economic ties inevitably offer opportunities to prosper further for our two countries.
Knowing that we want to grow and prosper our economic and trade relations, we are therefore actively seeking Moroccan investors wishing to explore the possibility of expanding their activities to the American market at the next SelectUSA 2021 summit.
– Recently, your commercial consular service and the American Chamber of Commerce organized a round table with Moroccan companies to explore investment opportunities in the USA. Who were the Moroccan participants?
There were at least 25 Moroccan companies and organizations invited to this virtual roundtable.
Also present were Mr. Azzedine Kettani who chairs the American Chamber of Commerce in Morocco (AmCham) and representatives of the previous Moroccan delegation to the SelectUSA 2019 summit.
– At the end of this meeting, did you notice a change in attitude among your interlocutors compared to previous years?
Indeed, the year 2021 marks the 15th anniversary of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the United States and Morocco, which is the only agreement of its kind between our country and a country on the African continent.
Consequently, there was an obvious natural enthusiasm around this important date which must capitalize on the achievements of a single agreement between our two nations.
This is also an opportunity to recall that Moroccan exports to the United States have increased by more than 200% since 2006, namely since the date of entry into force of the FTA (521 million USD in 2006, 1.6 billion USD in 2019).
It therefore seems logical that we want to take more advantage of this positive dynamic to continue to increase trade between our nations through investments from both sides.
– Why should Moroccan companies invest in the United States of America?
Simply because the USA is the largest consumer market in the world and because Moroccan companies are competitive enough to invest in our dynamic market which allows businesses and industries around the world to quickly find their place and prosper.
There are many reasons why Moroccan investors should choose the United States, but to sum up, we can cite an environment conducive to business, advanced technology and infrastructure, fluidity of supply chains, a skilled workforce …
In this regard, the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report, which measures trade regulations in major global markets, places us at the top of its ranking.
In addition, Moroccan investments in the USA would result in an increase in its exports to the United States and the creation of many additional jobs in Morocco.
– To date, what are the Moroccan sectors of activity which have already invested in the United States?
The main Moroccan investments that have been made in the last 10 years in the United States have been concentrated in the financial services and chemicals sectors.
– Knowing that the 2020 summit has been canceled, what about the 2019 results of Moroccan investors?
In 2019, the United States Foreign Trade Consular Office in Morocco led a Moroccan delegation of 15 members to this summit, including representatives from AmCham Morocco.
It should be noted that Morocco was represented by the largest delegation on the African continent and that one of the Moroccan delegates concluded important exchanges with interested American partners who are currently studying the concretization of its investment in the United States.
– Don’t you think that with the current pandemic, Moroccan businessmen will be less willing to embark on investment projects on American soil?
Not at all because Morocco is the only country in Africa to benefit from an American free trade agreement which generally aims to give exporters of both parties better access to additional markets, with the key to hundreds of millions. of potential customers in the United States.
Indeed, success in the US market can lead to global success and even though the global economy is currently facing health challenges, it makes sense that entrepreneurs will struggle to find innovative ways to continue. international commerce.
From there and despite the ongoing challenges, we will continue to explore new opportunities and start now to bring together talented entrepreneurs to participate next June in the SelectUSA virtual summit after the physical one in Las Vegas in 2019.
– Knowing that the American market has several access difficulties (local standards…), do you think that Moroccan products will be able to find their place in the United States?
If the largest local consumer market in the world is indeed sophisticated, the American market is also very open to Moroccan companies competitive at the global level.
In addition, knowing that the vision of HM King Mohammed VI for Morocco to be the gateway to the continent reflects its geographical importance for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, we noted that the level of he expertise of Moroccan entrepreneurs allowed them to easily engage in profitable investments in a dynamic market like ours.
–For the 8th edition of SelectUSA, you are counting on the virtual presence of 1,200 foreign investors from 70 countries. What will be the level of participation of Moroccans?
We do not yet have figures of the number of Moroccan participants but the main reason for the organization of the last virtual round table was precisely to find investors who are both the most efficient and qualified to participate in this summit in 2021.
Knowing that the Win-Win trade between our nations evolves positively every year and that the United States is the 5th largest foreign investor in Morocco, with 3 billion dollars already injected into its local economy, we will therefore continue, and relentlessly, to encourage the continuation of this trade in both directions.
Below is the poster for the next SelectUSA 2021 summit to be held in virtual format from June 7 to 11:
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