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Ankara officially informed about Jordan’s intent to terminate FTA

By Mohammad Ghazal - May 27,2018 - Last updated at May 27,2018

AMMAN — Jordan has officially informed Turkey of its intent to completely terminate the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries after efforts to find a “just” solution for the benefit of both sides reached a deadlock, an official said on Sunday.

“After we suspended the deal with Turkey, we held several meetings to find some solutions and we met with Turkish officials as Jordan did not benefit from the deal, but to no avail,” Minister of State, Industry and Supply Yaroub Qudah told The Jordan Times on Sunday.

In April, Jordan said it was willing to reactivate the free trade agreement with Turkey, which was suspended in March, if Turkey agrees to meet certain conditions.

The terms include the Turkish side’s consent to protection measures Jordan will design to protect local industries, increasing Turkish technical assistance to Jordan as stipulated by the FTA and reconsidering the “strict” rules of origin specifications applied by Turkey. Jordan wanted Ankara to adopt the same relaxed rules of origin Jordan enjoys under a deal signed with the EU.

“We presented many suggestions to amend the agreement during our meetings with the Turkish authorities so both countries can benefit from the deal, but nothing happened,” said the minister, adding that intensive meetings were held between Jordanian and Turkish officials to come up with a solution.

“The agreement had a negative impact on the Jordanian industries due to the imbalanced competition between Jordanian and Turkish products,” said Qudah.

The government’s March decision to suspend the deal was welcomed by industrialists but slammed by traders.

At the time, government officials said that Turkey did not transfer know-how to improve national industries as agreed upon in  the deal, adding that Turkey’s exports to Jordan sharply rocketed after the deal went into effect.

Before 2011, Turkey’s annual exports to Jordan, excluding oil, reached $23 million, with customs fees being collected; after the deal went into effect, Turkish exports to Jordan, excluding oil, reached around $135 million annually, with nothing being disbursed in customs fees to the Treasury, according to the Amman Chamber of Commerce.

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