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FTA with Turkey to resume ‘under certain conditions'

By Mohammad Ghazal - Apr 02,2018 - Last updated at Apr 02,2018

AMMAN — Jordan is willing to reactivate the free trade agreement with Turkey, which was suspended last month, if Turkey agrees to meet certain conditions, the government said on Sunday.

Officials have recently held a meeting with a Turkish government delegation to look into solutions following the suspension decision, Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply Yarub Qudah told The Jordan Times on Sunday.

The terms, he said, 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 wants Ankara to adopt the same relaxed rules of origin Jordan enjoys under a deal signed with the EU, the minister said.

“We believe that these measures can ensure justice for both sides and will help protect our industries and make it easier for Jordanian products to enter the Turkish market,” Qudah said.

“The deal was suspended after it was thoroughly re-assessed and proved to have a significant negative impact on the local industries, tilting the trade balance significantly in favour of Turkey,” he continued.

Qudah said the government has no objections against the reactivation of the deal with Turkey if the latter meets the conditions set in this regard.

“We put no obstacles at all and we are open to suggestions to help achieve national interests,” the minister stressed.

Last month’s decision to suspend the bilateral 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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