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Jordan requests EU to include agricultural industries under rules of origin deal

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

AMMAN — Jordan on Thursday said it submitted a request to the European Union demanding the inclusion of agricultural industries and products under the deal related to relaxed rules of origin, a senior official announced. 

“Following recent meetings with EU representatives, we agreed to submit a request to include the industrial products,” Yousef Shamali, secretary general of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supply, told The Jordan Times, noting he expects a response “soon”.

If included in the deal, several industries will benefit from the agreement including a variety of beans and other canned agricultural products, Shamali said.

Jordan Valley Farmers Union President Adnan Khaddam commended the “very positive step” that will help support a “sector that has suffered losses over the past years”.

“Farmers have incurred huge losses and some of them have gone out of business after the closure of borders with Syria and Iraq, which were key markets for the agricultural sector,” he said, adding: “Many farmers cooperate with agricultural industries and food processing factories, so including the agricultural products under the EU deal will certainly have positive results on farmers”.

The unionist noted that the majority of Jordan’s farms already fulfill the EU specifications and “having preferential treatment under the EU rules of origin will be a boost to the sector”.

In July 2016, the EU and Jordan signed a ten-year deal under which manufacturers in the Kingdom can import up to 70 per cent of the raw materials used in production and still label the finished products as “Made in Jordan”, qualifying them for trade concessions. 

For Jordanian industries to benefit from the simplified rules of origin, each factory needs to employ no less than 15 per cent of Syrian employees out of its total manpower. The rate will be increased to 25 per cent in the third year of the agreement, according to the Amman Chamber of Commerce.

The deal designated a total of 18 beneficiary industrial and developmental zones, while the relaxed rules will also apply to other industries across the Kingdom as soon as 200,000 jobs are created for Syrian refugees following the issuing of work permits.

Since the agreement went into effect, only three factories have exported goods to Europe.

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