Jordan fears repercussions of decreased trade with Iraq
Despite Iraq’s reiteration that it is willing to increase trade volume with Jordan to nearly two billion dollars annually, recent exchanges between the two countries remain sluggish, according to the Amman-based Al-Dustur daily.
Jordan presently relies on Iraq to absorb a major portion of its exports. Until recently, only India topped Iraq in terms of Jordan’s imports partner. However, as a result of the rise in low-cost imports to Iraq from other countries, trade volumes with Jordan are quickly shrinking.
Jordanian Import volumes to Iraq haven’t risen even after a bilateral trade protocol had been signed, under which Jordan committed to export nearly $450 million worth of merchandise annually in return five million tons of Iraqi oil ― half of which would be sold at a discount while the other half would be free.
Jordan, which relies heavily on Iraq for its oil supply, recently called for an end to Western sanctions against Iraq as well as rejecting the UN’s smart sanctions proposal. In a memo to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan sent in mid-June and cited by AFP, Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb said that his country imports $750 million worth of oil a year from Iraq, its largest trading partner, and that 37 percent of Jordanian industries are dependent on trade with their neighbor. If trade were cut off, he warned, Jordan's economy might collapse.
Jordan’s semi-official Higher Council for Science and Technology has recently urged the government to improve diplomatic relations with Baghdad to ensure access to the Iraqi market, amid competition from Syria and Gulf Arab countries, according to Middle East Newsline (MENL), citing an official report. ― (MENA Report)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)