Jordan needs new trade routes that side-step Syria
The Kingdom’s exports of fruits and vegetables to Syria flow as normal with no “significant” halt as a result of the ongoing violence in the northern neighbour, an agriculture official said on Sunday. Ministry of Agriculture Spokesperson Nimer Haddadin pointed out that the flow of Jordan’s exports to Syria has not yet been affected “considerably” by the ongoing violence sweeping the northern Arab state, but the Kingdom’s exports to Turkey and Europe through Syria have all stopped.
Haddadin explained that most trucks carrying Jordanian fruits and vegetables through Syria and then to Turkey and Europe are owned by Turks who used to come through Bab Al Hawa border gate between Turkey and Syria which is now completely closed.
According to ministry figures, Jordan exports 180,000 tonnes of fruits and vegetables to Syria in normal circumstances at a value of around JD40 million annually. “Despite the ongoing violence in Syria, Jordan has not yet taken a decision to halt its exports of fruits and vegetables to the northern neighbour,” Haddadin told The Jordan Times. But President of the Jordan Truck Owners Association Mohammad Dawood said overland cargo movement between Jordan and Syria was almost “dead” now with only very few trucks leaving Jordan for Syria or vice versa. “The escalating violence in Syria is preventing drivers from risking their lives and properties going to Syria,” Dawood told The Jordan Times over the phone, adding that “99 per cent of truck drivers decided not to go to Syria now as most of the roads are unsafe, witnessing violent clashes between rebel groups and Syrian government forces”.
In recent remarks to The Jordan Times, Director General of the Jordan Customs Department Ghaleb Sarayreh said overland cargo movement between Jordan and Syria has dropped by 20 per cent since the start of the turmoil in Syria nearly a year ago. According to official figures, between 300 and 400 freight trucks are used to enter the Kingdom through Syria on a daily basis.
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