Maria Traspaderne |
Rabat (EFE).- Before leaving his ministerial portfolio to dedicate himself body and soul to the campaign for the Madrid mayor’s office, Reyes Maroto wants to leave some things closed. One is the State Pact for Industry, a “great” agreement that he hopes to sign before the end of February.
In an interview with EFE during the economic forum held in Rabat as a prelude to the Spanish-Moroccan High Level Meeting (RAN), Maroto reviews economic relations with the North African country and some issues that he wants to leave tied up before leave the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism.
One of them is the pact for the industry, a draft legislature already agreed, he explains, with the economic and social agents that only lacks “that great political agreement.”
“We are so close. I have spoken with all the political groups and I think there is sensitivity. It is not easy because we are in a moment of noise, in a moment of confrontation, “says Maroto to recall the debate this week in the Senate between the president of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, and the leader of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo.
“We see how the opposition party and Mr. Feijóo continue to portray a Spain that is not real,” he adds about the face to face in the Upper House.
For Maroto, 2022 “offers facts, not just perceptions”, that the Government has known how to “combat the difficulties” it has had to face, “especially the war.”
The socialist minister and candidate hopes that this agreement in industry, which she hopes to close before the end of this month, “is not the last.” “I believe that Spain deserves to finally have a State pact, it is a historical claim,” she says.
Although she acknowledges that she will not see more agreements in the Government because she is leaving her portfolio soon. When will she do it? “As soon as she finishes some issues like this, such as the PERTE lines or some lines in the field of tourism and commerce.”
Automotive and textile, synergies with Morocco
Maroto was the first to land in Rabat of the eleven ministers accompanying Sánchez in this long-awaited RAN, eight years after the last one and with a diplomatic crisis involved.
In front of dozens of Spanish and Moroccan businessmen, he announced that the Government will double, up to 800 million, the line of credit for Spanish companies to invest in Morocco.
On it, he explains that although “no project is excluded” to qualify for this financing, Morocco and Spain have defined “priority sectors”, such as renewables, infrastructure and logistics, water and desalination plants, the automotive industry or the textile.
Another of the announced agreements with Morocco is in tourism, where both countries will sign a memorandum of understanding to, among other things, “recover the routes and frequencies that we had before the pandemic” or capture the Asian market that is looking for combined visits Spain- Morocco, says Maroto.
The minister also sees “synergies” in the automobile industry, a field that Morocco wants to give a boost to and go from manufacturing 700,000 vehicles a year to 2 million by 2030, with a commitment to electric vehicles.
The “electrification” of the Spanish automobile industry can translate into cooperation with Morocco, says Maroto, through the investments that Spanish companies are making in the North African country.
In this area, says the minister, there are already “integrated value chains” between the two countries. As an example, she gives gearboxes made in Seville that are assembled in Morocco. This could be applied in the future to electric vehicles that are being produced in the North African country, which already manufactures a model entirely.
A second field of cooperation is textiles. Inditex alone employs 90,000 people in Morocco in 170 suppliers and 350 factories, and the Moroccan employers want to start producing the fabrics and not have to import them from Asia, for which they want to count on Spanish companies.
“The pandemic and the industrial or strategic autonomy that Spain is betting on allows us to look further and I think it is an interesting initiative,” he says about this proposal.
2023 will surpass 2019 in tourism spending
After anticipating the “extraordinary” closing data for 2022 for foreign tourism, with a volume of spending of around 87,000 million, and close to the more than 92,000 million of 2019 -a record year before the covid-, Maroto assures EFE that the prospects for 2023 are “very favourable”.
“In tourism spending, which is where we are now focusing, we will undoubtedly exceed the year 2019. That is very positive because we have made a commitment to quality.”
He believes that Spain will see “greater market diversification” this year, with rising American tourists and the beginning of the recovery of the Asian market with the opening of China.