Government welcomes plan to open trade office in Tangier
The Government has welcomed a proposal from the Gibraltar and Morocco Business Association for the opening of an office in Tangier.
This follows a meeting this week between the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia, the President of the Association Clive Reed and members of the Committee.
The office will be run privately by the Association and will be tasked with the development of trade and commercial links between Gibraltar and Morocco.
This is in line with the long-standing policy of the Government to develop and explore such markets, particularly now in the context of Brexit.
It is also in line with the constitution of the GMBA which states that its objective is to foster business, educational, touristic, sporting and cultural links.
In a statement the Government flagged how in 1969, when General Franco closed the border, Gibraltar depended on labour and on the importation of goods from the Spanish side.
The economy underwent a fundamental change at that time which changed the focus from imports and labour by land to imports and labour by sea, largely from Morocco across the Strait.
“The situation today is clearly different in that the border is not going to close,” the Government said adding thattThe continuation of a fluid border for persons and goods is in the interests of both sides.
Gibraltar imports some 1.5 billion Euros a year in goods and materials from Spain.
The latest figures show that 15,329 residents of Spain work in Gibraltar, and that 9,705 of these are Spanish nationals.
“There is clearly a commonality of interests between Gibraltar and Spain in identifying positive solutions post-Brexit,” the Government added.
“However, this does not conflict with developing and exploring new commercial markets in Morocco and elsewhere.”
The President of the GMBA Clive Reed said: “The Association is delighted that the Government has supported our idea in principle. We now need to discuss the detail. Gibraltar is very close to Tangier and we already have air and maritime links.”
“There is no doubt that an improvement in those links will happen as mutual trade increases. I am very excited at the prospect of spreading the word about everything that Gibraltar has to offer and they in turn have plenty to offer us.”
The Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia said: “This private-sector initiative could not have come at a better time. It is only logical that we should also look towards the south given our geographical location.”
“There have been several attempts over the years to intensify that commercial relationship. The opening of a private commercial office in Tangier has the potential to serve as a conduit for trade in both directions.”