2018/08/05 – Although Morocco has no official diplomatic ties with Israel, the North African country traded $37 million worth of goods with Israel in 2017 according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).
The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs published data through its Arabic Facebook page revealing data about its trade with some Arab and Islamic countries, based on CBS statistics.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Israel maintains a network of trade relations with many Arab and Islamic countries, including countries that do not have diplomatic ties with Israel, asserting that trade relations serve the interests of both countries.
Morocco’s trade with Israel in 2017 dropped by $21 million compared to 2016, including imports and exports by both countries.
According to CBS data, Morocco’s imports from Israel totaled $22 million compared to $41 million in 2016. Moroccan exports to Israel were valued at $15 million in 2017 against $17 million in 2016.
According to CBS statistics for 2017, Morocco ranked third among Arab countries trading with Israel.
Jordan ranked the first as its exports to Israel totaled $278 million and imports nearly $57 million.
Israel’s imports from Egypt reached $64 million while its exports amounted to $84 million to Egypt. Based on this value, Egypt had the second highest amount of trade for an Arab country with Israel.
Turkey remained the Islamic state with the most foreign trade with Israel. The value of Turkey’s total exports to Tel Aviv was $2.856 billion while its imports reached $1.410 billion.
Indonesia’s imports from Israel were valued at $82 million while its exports reached $48 million.
Notably, CBS data cannot be accessed from a Moroccan IP address.
Israel imports by selected countries in the period 2012-2017
Overall, Moroccans object vociferously to any normalization of relations with Israel, and Morocco has no official diplomatic ties with the Jewish entity.
After the US transferred its embassy to Jerusalem, many Moroccan parliamentarians asked for a vote on a draft bill to criminalize normalization with Israel.
The bill states that “anyone who contributes to, participates in or attempts to commit acts of normalization with Israel shall receive a sentence ranging from 2 to 5 years in prison and shall pay a fine of between MAD 100,000 and MAD 1 million.”
“The court may judge those convicted of one of the penalties provided for in Article 36 of the Criminal Code.”
According to Einat Levy of Mitvim, the Israel Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, “There are many contacts [between Israel and Morocco], both open and secret, in almost every field you could think of.”
In an article published by Levy on Israeli outlet Yedioth Ahronoth, the researcher praised the Morocco-Israeli cooperation and stated there are many collaborations taking place between Israel and Morocco, including agriculture.
“Significant cooperation, albeit limited, can also be found in agriculture. Morocco supplies Israel with agricultural products such as sardines and olives, while Israel supplies Morocco with professional knowledge and technological equipment such as Netafim irrigation systems, which also operates a Facebook page for the Moroccan public.”
El Khalfi denied trade with Israel
According to the World Israel News, 30,000 Israeli tourists visited Morocco in 2017. The Israeli outlet also quoted a significantly higher level of Moroccan exports to Israel than the CBS: “Moroccan exports to Israel have gone from $5 million to $25 million in the past five years.”
Early last month, Morocco’s Government Spokesperson Mustapha El Khalfi asserted, “Morocco does not have any relations of any kind with Israel” after media reported a five-time increase in trade between Morocco Israel over the past five years.
“With regard to what is stated in some reports on our country’s exports to Israel, I confirm that Morocco has no official relations of any kind,” he added.