The development comes on the third day of an Alabama trade and business development mission that began in Spain on Monday before shifting to Morocco. The trade memo was announced at a press conference organized today by the U.S. Commercial Service in Morocco’s largest city.
Bill Sisson, president and CEO of the Mobile Area Chamber, said the memo formalizes an agreement between the two organizations to collaborate on trade and business promotion to benefit their members.
“This agreement opens a strong relationship between the chambers in Mobile and Morocco,” Sisson said. “Most importantly, it provides a gateway for businesses in the Mobile area to develop new business opportunities in Morocco, and, in turn, for those businesses to develop opportunities in the U.S.”
The agreement calls for the chambers to exchange best practices, facilitate matchmaking services to expand business opportunities, and to share information about trade shows and other events.
Sisson said the U.S. and Morocco have had a Free Trade Agreement in place for the past decade, the only pact of its kind with an African nation.
Alabama’s trade ties with Morocco are not currently extensive, with only $9.4 million in Alabama-made goods shipped to Morocco in 2015, led by chemicals and agricultural products. But Alabama officials say the potential is there to expand commerce between the two nations.
“There are significant areas of overlap in key sectors of the economies of both Alabama and Morocco – particularly aerospace, automotive, chemicals and food products – that provides us with a foundation to strengthen our relationship,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
“We hope that the contacts being established by the Alabama team on this trade mission will lead to new business opportunities in these key sectors and other industries back at home.”
Mobile’s trade memo is the second to stem from a recent Commerce-led trade and business development mission. Last year, Peru’s ambassador to the U.S. traveled to Montgomery to sign a similar agreement with Alabama Governor Robert Bentley. That followed a 2014 trade mission to Peru and Uruguay, led by Secretary Canfield.