Morocco's minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Mohammed Benaí¯ssa, arrives in Brazil today, March 13, to deliver a letter from the king of his country, Mohammed VI, to Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
The content of the letter was not disclosed, but according to the Moroccan ambassador in Brazil, Farida Jaí¯di, Benaí¯ssa should meet the Brazilian foreign minister, Celso Amorim, on Wednesday, March 14. A meeting with Lula has not been confirmed.
Benaí¯ssa should arrive in Brasília at the end of the day today and should leave tomorrow. During his stay in the country, the minister should also meet the president of the Lower House, Arlindo Chinaglia. The meeting, however, has not been confirmed yet, according to information supplied by the press department for the National Congress.
This is the fifth time that Benaí¯ssa comes to Brazil. The first visit of the minister took place in April 2004, when he met with president Lula to discuss issues such as the visit of king Mohammed VI, which took place some months later; the Summit of South American – Arab Countries, held in May 2005; the possibility of a Mercosur-Morocco agreement. It was the first step for a trade agreement that the Arab country is discussing with the South American bloc.
The minister visited Brazil again in 2004, in the company of the Moroccan king, and returned for the summit in May 2005, and again in January last year, for further expansion of bilateral ties. Morocco is going to host, on April 23 and 24, a meeting of ministers of Economy of South American and the Arab countries.
The meeting, the second between ministers of Economy of both regions, will serve to proceed with the matters of the summit. It is going to take place in Rabat, the Moroccan capital.
Benaí¯ssa has a long political and diplomatic career. He is graduated and post-graduated in Communications from the University of Minnesota, in the United States, was spokesperson of the permanent mission of Morocco at the United Nations (UN), and then press liaison for the Information Department at the organization.
He has also worked for the United Nations (UN), where he was the director of the information division in Rome, Italy, alderman and twice mayor of his city of origin, Asilah. He was also a federal representative in the Moroccan parliament, minister of Culture, and ambassador of Morocco in the United States.
Morocco has a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$ 61.6 billion and per capita income of US$ 4,900. The country, which is in the North of Africa, has its industrial production concentrated in mining, food and textile products.
Morocco has two thirds of the world phosphate reserves and is also the main exporter of the product, with a 31% share of the world market. The country is also the main world exporter of sardines and has a great share of the income connected to tourism.
The country's main suppliers are France, Spain, Italy and Germany. With Brazil, the country had bilateral trade of US$ 68 million between the months of January and February this year. The Moroccans sold US$ 26.1 million to Brazil and the Brazilians exported US$ 41.9 million to Morocco.
Brazil exported to Morocco, at the beginning of this year, products like sugar, tractors, wood, milk and vehicles, and imported mainly phosphates and sardines.