Bombardier has firmed an agreement to build facilities near Casablanca, Morocco, expanding the Canadian company’s global manufacturing reach with a foothold in North Africa.

Bombardier signed an agreement with Moroccan property holding and management company Midparc Investment S.A. to purchase land for a new plant in the Midparc Casablanca Free Zone, in Nouaceur. The deal follows a memorandum of understanding that Bombardier reached with the government of Morocco last fall to build manufacturing facilities there.

Bombardier expects to invest about $200 million in equipment, buildings and startup costs over the next eight years. Construction is scheduled to begin this year.

While details of the manufacturing capabilities are still being firmed, Bombardier expects it initially will include subassembly for simple structures. Bombardier further estimates that the plant will employ 850 workers by 2020.

In addition to establishing a base in North Africa, Bombardier will have an attractive location in Morocco because of lower manufacturing, shipping and transportation costs and the country’s proximity to Europe.

The announcement is Bombardier’s latest step toward expanding its global manufacturing capabilities. Bombardier Aerospace President Guy Hachey told analysts last fall that “our more strategic manufacturing will remain in Canada,” but that the word is “globalization.” The company also is building up its presence in Queretaro, Mexico, which will employ up to 2,500 workers by the end of next year. In addition to its Canada and U.S. plants, the company employs 400 engineers in India and also has announced high-profile partnerships with Shenyang in China for commercial aircraft composite fuselage components.