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US firms seek investments in Jordan

By Omar Obeidat - Dec 10,2014 - Last updated at Dec 10,2014

AMMAN – A group of US infrastructure companies are in Jordan to explore investment opportunities, particularly in the field of renewable energy. 

Kenneth Hyatt, deputy undersecretary for international trade, is leading the infrastructure business development mission to Jordan and is accompanied by top executives of US firms working in the sectors of renewable energy, water and construction. 

At a meeting with the press on Wednesday, the US official, who also oversees the daily operations of the International Trade Administration, said the focus of the visit, that also took them to Egypt and Morocco, was renewable energy, indicating that six out of the 10 companies in the delegation operate in the solar power. 

"We chose these three countries because of their potential," he said, indicating that Jordan and the US enjoy strong economic and commercial ties. 

Jordan was the first Arab country to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with the US, Hyatt said, noting that before the FTA was signed, trade exchange was only around $400 million but currently it exceeds $3.3 billion. 

In 2013, Jordanian exports to the US reached $1.2 billion, while this year  it is expected to go up even higher as  the value of exports  in the first nine months of this year exceeded this figure, the official indicated. 

He noted that the delegates held meetings with government officials in Amman, in addition to business to business meetings with the private sector. 

"Energy is very important to Jordan and renewable energy is a solution," he said, adding that the mission also seeks to encourage Jordanian businesspeople to invest in the US. 

Hyatt selected the sectors of ICT, healthcare and energy as important businesses that can contribute to boosting trade between Jordan and the US. 

Attending the meeting with the press was Ahmad Nada, vice chairman and regional director of First Solar, which is a global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar systems. 

Nada said the company is currently taking part in the Shams Maan Power Plant as it provides engineering, procurement and construction to the 52.5 megawatt solar-run power plant in the southern governorate. 

He added that First Solar is going to bid for a similar project in the governorate of Mafraq, noting that bidding would open on January 20 of next year. 

"We see valuable economic benefits in investing in Jordan," Nada said. 

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