Delaware officials welcome Moroccan ambassador

Morocco's ambassador to the United States is celebrating Delaware's trade ties with the North African country.

Gov. Jack Markell and U.S. Sen. Chris Coons welcomed Mohamed Rachad Bouhlal to the Port of Wilmington on Monday.

State economic development Secretary Alan Levin led a tour of the port, which is a top fruit seaport and the leading entry port for Moroccan clementines.

Levin said that, from Delaware, Moroccan clementines can reach more than 200 million North American consumers in less than 24 hours.

Since 2000, Fresh Fruit Maroc, a cooperative of citrus growers and exporters, has shipped more than 242,000 pallets of clementines valued at more than $345 million to Wilmington. The port received 22,964 tons of clementines in the most recent season, a 114 percent increase over the previous year.

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