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Stakeholders hail new Jordan-Iraq deals, say they will boost economy, create new job opportunities

By Ahmed Bani Mustafa - Feb 04,2019 - Last updated at Nov 28,2019

AMMAN — Stakeholders in the Jordanian private and public sectors commended the recent Jordanian-Iraqi economic agreements, calling for further cooperation to boost the two countries’ economies.

Jordan and Iraq have recently signed several cooperation agreements in the fields of oil, electricity and trade.

Under these deals, Jordan would lower fees on Iraqi shipments handled passing through the Port of Aqaba and supply Iraq with electricity in return for special prices on Iraqi oil.

Nael Kabariti, president of the Jordan Chamber of Commerce, said that Iraq was one of Jordan’s biggest markets.

Many Jordanian factories were customised to manufacture products for export to the Iraqi market. After the regional turmoil and the border closure, those factories had to look elsewhere to export their goods, Kabariti told The Jordan Times on Sunday.

“For the economic sector, this is a large step towards reviving economic relationships with Iraq... we are hoping to remove and overcome all obstacles before us,” Kabariti said.

Kabariti voiced his appreciation for His Majesty King Abdullah’s efforts to enhance bilateral cooperation, and called on Iraqi authorities to speed up the customs exemptions for Jordanian exports to Iraq.

Economic relations between Jordan and Iraq have seen progress in the past few months, since Prime Minister Omar Razzaz’s visit in December and the King’s visit to Baghdad last month.

Just days ago, Razzaz, presiding over another ministerial delegation, concluded yet another visit.

A month earlier, Iraqi President Barham Saleh also paid a visit to Amman.

These comprehensive agreements are a “reservoir of hope”, Zayan Zawaneh, a political economist, said.

“They will revitalise the economy and create many jobs for Jordanians and Iraqis,” Zawaneh added.

The agreements covered various sectors, which is promising, he said, noting that lowering the handling fees for Iraqi shipments would increase them and, thus, create more jobs for Jordanians.

On power cooperation, Zawaneh noted that it is not new for Jordan to export electricity. Jordan has been exporting power for decades, to Syria in the 1980s and currently to Palestine, he said.

Meanwhile, the two countries should accelerate work on the Aqaba-Basra oli pipeline project, he concluded.

Notably, the two countries agreed on Saturday to supply Jordan with some 10,000 barrels of oil a day via the pipeline.

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