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Jordan eyeing free trade accords with Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia

By JT - Dec 07,2014 - Last updated at Dec 07,2014

AMMAN — Jordan will soon start discussions with Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia to sign free trade agreements with the three East African nations, Industry and Trade Minister Hatem Halawani said Sunday. 

The minister told an African economic delegation, currently visiting the Kingdom, that he contacted his counterparts in those countries in this regard. 

He said Jordan’s drive to develop economic ties with Africa was part of an economic openness policy that the Kingdom has been applying for years, besides commercial partnership based on trade liberalisation through signing several free trade agreements on the bilateral and multilateral levels.

According to a ministry statement sent to The Jordan Times, the minister valued these agreements that positively affected the economy, since the volume of national exports reached JD3.9 billion during the first eight months of 2014, 7 per cent higher than the same period of 2013.

Halawani said the trade volume between Jordan and East African countries reached $102.5 million in the first nine months of 2014 compared to $28.4 in the same period of 2013, according to the statement. 

Expressing the government's keenness to develop economic cooperation with East African countries in all fields, especially the commercial one, and to provide all that is needed to establish ties that serve the interests of both sides, Halawani added that the collaboration will be achieved through both the public and private sectors. 

Halawani underlined the importance of persuading businessmen to benefit from available opportunities, establishing investment projects and encouraging trade and expertise exchange. 

He acquainted the delegation with the reforms the Kingdom has been implementing, such as formulating economic legislations, issuing a new investment law, establishing developmental areas and providing an investment-attracting environment in order to diversify business opportunities.

Jordan Chamber of Industry President Ayman Hatahet expressed the private sector’s readiness to enhance economic relations between the Kingdom and African countries. 

Jordan Investment Commission President Montaser Okla said the Kingdom enjoys a promising investment environment, with a lot of available characteristics in various fields, stressing the commission’s readiness to provide all needed support to investors in the Kingdom. 

Zarqa Chamber of Industry President Thabet Wer said the meeting will produce important results that would enhance economic relations between Jordan and these countries.

For their part, members of the delegation, representing Tanzania and Ethiopia, expressed their willingness to develop economic cooperation with the Kingdom in various fields, in addition to benefiting from the opportunities available in Jordan.

They also said Jordan is characterised by its attractive investment environment compared to other countries in the region, referring to the positive results the Kingdom has achieved despite the challenges it is facing locally and regionally. 

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