Princess Astrid and ministers leave for largest trade mission ever to Morocco

Belgium’s largest ever trade mission departs today for Morocco, led by Princess Astrid and including 469 business participants.

Joining the princess, who took over the leadership of economic missions when her brother Philippe became king, is foreign minister Didier Reynders, federal secretary of state for international trade Pieter De Crem, Walloon economy minister Pierre-Yves Jeholet and Brussels region’s secretary of state for international trade Cécile Jodoigne. Flemish minister-president Geert Bourgeois, whose portfolio includes foreign relations, will join the mission in Rabat on Tuesday.

Following a meeting today with Princess Lalla Meryem, sister of King Mohammed VI in Marrakesh, the Princess and Reynders will join the rest of the mission in Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city, where they will receive a comprehensive briefing on trade relations between the two countries, as well as visit the local subsidiary of Belgian aerospace company Sabca.

Later, in Rabat, the delegation will meet with prime minister Saadeddine Othmani and foreign minister Nasser Bourita. Also in Rabat, the first stone will be laid for a new Belgian embassy.

Finally, the mission returns to Casablanca, for the signing of a series of contracts, memoranda of understanding and declarations of intent – the bread and butter of bilateral trade missions. The delegation leaves Morocco on Thursday, after a brief visit to the northern city of Tangier.

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