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Car sector representative voices hope over border opening

By Qosai Blaibleh - Oct 23,2018 - Last updated at Oct 24,2018

AMMAN — The number of customs-cleared hybrid vehicles dropped by 41.15 per cent in 2018 compared to 2017, while the re-exported gasoline vehicles increased by 58.7 per cent over the same period, a sector leader said.

According to Jordan Free Zone Investment Commission (JFZIC) President Nabeel Rumman, the Jordanian market witnessed a variation between the imports and re-exports of vehicles in 2018, "an example of many in the market raising hopes towards the opening of the Syrian border and the Iraqi border".

"The opening of the Syrian border boosts Jordanian exports, as we are considered a strategic market for Syria at this stage," Rumman continued, noting that the Jordanian market should expect to feel the effect of this action in the first quarter of 2019 as exports to Syria should increase to 50 per cent, compared with the current 10 per cent, which “would make a distinguishable impact on the Jordanian market".

Iraq, on the other hand, received 80 per cent of the gasoline vehicle re-exports from Jordan, but witnessed a drop in the figure after the regional turmoil. "If the route to Iraq was a 48-hour journey for trade, it is a 14-day journey now," Rumman pointed out, citing a time span caused by a reroute through Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

“We expect a 40 per cent increase in our gasoline car re-exports to Iraq if we return back to the direct Jordan-Iraq route," he commented.

The commission's chief attributed the 41.15 per cent variation in the import of hybrid vehicles in 2017 to the hike preceding the governments' cancellation of the exemption of custom fees as well as the current lack of local purchasing power. 

Jordan registered  the customs-clearing of 6,083 electric cars in 2018, compared to 5,950 cars in 2017, according to the JFZIC.

"The market is saturated right now," Rumman concluded, stressing that opening both borders of Iraq and Syria will generate "a boost that our market will capitalise from". 

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