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'Local industries in need of alternative raw material sources'

By Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas - Mar 05,2020 - Last updated at Mar 05,2020

AMMAN — The lack of production input and raw materials imported from China will “reflect negatively” on the local industries they support, Chairman of the Zarqa Chamber of Industry's (ZCI) board of directors Fares Hammoudeh said on Thursday. 

“There are many industries that import their production materials from China, and these companies will face a shortage of raw materials in light of the shipment holdup from China because of the novel coronavirus,” Hammoudeh told The Jordan Times over the phone. 

The chairman urged the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supply, in cooperation with other concerned ministries, to take “immediate action” in order to alleviate damage to Jordanian industries lacking raw materials by providing a database of alternative markets, and expediting shipment and transport operations from and to the Kingdom.

The chamber contacted several factories in the Zarqa and Mafraq governorates, Hammoudeh said, noting that some factories, such as clothing factories, depend on Chinese production materials.

“The degree of dependence on the Chinese materials varied from one factory to another, and the same for stocked materials. Some factories have material enough for a month or two of production, while many others are seeking other sources and countries to import from for their raw material needs,” he said. 

“The process of seeking alternatives requires time, is very costly and there is also the risk of dealing with new sources,” Hammoudeh said. He pointed out the importance of helping factories secure the materials they need before current stocks run out, a process that can happen through government facilitations of air shipments and granting import licences for raw materials.

Hammoudeh said that countries in the Gulf recently suspended the import of consumer goods from China, especially foodstuffs. The move reflected positively on food factories’ exports in Zarqa and Mafraq, which increased by 62 per cent in January and February of this year in light of heightened demand. 

At the end of February, the Amman Chamber of Commerce (ACC) called for finding alternative markets for trade in light of the novel coronavirus outbreak in China in order to support merchants and importers in the Kingdom.

“The ACC ramped up its economic and trade precautions and measures in case the coronavirus epidemic remains for an extended period,” ACC President Khalil Hajj Tawfiq told The Jordan Times at the time. 

Jordan’s imports from China have an estimated value of JD2.2 billion a year, he noted, adding that “up to 16 per cent of Jordan’s annual imports are from China, which makes it a crucial market”.

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