Jordan's traders complain of unfair business by foreign owners
The Jordan Chamber of Commerce (JCC) on Saturday called on the government to address illegal commercial activities conducted by foreign workers in the local market.
JCC President Nael Kabariti said the local investors are struggling to keep their businesses running in the face of illegal small- and medium-sized businesses operated by foreign workers.
Speaking to The Jordan Times in a phone interview, Kabariti said many of these foreign workers set up their investments without paying legal dues to the state, urging the ministries of trade and labour to monitor such activities and ensure that the laws governing investments in the Kingdom are applied.
Under the Investment Promotion Law, foreign investors who deposit JD50,000 at a local bank can open up a business and benefit from incentives offered by the Jordan Investment Board, he noted.
However, the JCC president said, many investors operating small- and medium-size businesses withdraw the deposit once they get their documents approved.
“In addition, non-Jordanian investors do not pay tax and work without any endorsement from the relevant business association, leaving the domestic investor, who abides by the regulations and pays all his or her financial obligations to the Treasury lagging in profits,” Kabariti said.
He warned that the local commercial sector is “threatened” by such illegal businesses, noting that they sell products less than the cost price, which negatively affects local traders.
Kabariti said the JCC has raised this issue with government officials several times but they are yet to take action.
He added that a Jordanian investor’s revenues go to expanding his business and generating more jobs, while foreign investors tend to send most of their profits to their countries.
Kabariti said this is a joint responsibility of the Ministry of Labour, which issues work permits, the trade unions, chambers of industry and commerce, which are responsible for licensing traders, and municipalities.
He called for a meeting for the relevant institutions to address the negative impact of this phenomenon before it “gets out of hand”.
“The number of complaints we have been getting from Jordanian businessmen is increasing and we are trying as much as possible to curb this problem but we cannot do much single-handedly unless the government cooperates with us,” Kabariti said.
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