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Morocco's King Mohammed VI's visit to Brazil, the second leg of his tour in five Latin American countries, confirms the particular interest granted to consolidating relations with this country that represents a big economic power in the region. The two countries share strategic choices that are expressed through a convergence of views on regional and international issues, and through the concern of King Mohammed VI and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil to fight hunger and social injustices. During a visit of Moroccan Foreign Minister, Mohamed Benaissa, to Brasilia last April, the two sides defined priority questions for Moroccan-Brazilian cooperation, that consisted of environment, water resources, agriculture, housing, tourism and cultural exchanges. They also agreed on the importance to encourage economic operators to take concrete actions and seize opportunities in investment so as to promote two-way trade. Trade exchanges between the two countries have increased by 50pc in 2003, totalling US $428 million, said Morocco's ambassador in Brazilia, Ali Achour. He said exchanges consist chiefly of Moroccan exports of phosphates and by-products, fisheries products, olive oil, and imports of sugar canes, wood, car spare parts, textile and cotton. During the visit, he said, a trade accord will be signed between Morocco and Mercosur (common market of the south) which would significantly boost cooperation between the kingdom and Latin American countries. Achour noted that the royal visit to Brazil is part of a fresh approach of dialogue with Latin American countries, that was initiated by the king when he ascended the throne. This official visit "translates the will to consolidate bilateral relations, as well as Brazil's relations with the Arab world," commented Paulo Sˇrgio Atallah, president of the Arab-Brazilian trade chamber (CCBA). The monarch's visit to Brazil will be an occasion to evoke relations between Latin America and the Arab world, he said, underlining that this issue will be discussed during the summit of heads of state of the two regions that will be held next May in Brazil. The preparatory ministerial conference for the summit will be organized in the southern Moroccan city of Marrakech.
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