Two Jordanian ministers in Baghdad to discuss boosting exports
Two Jordanian ministers went to Baghdad Monday at the start of a visit of several days to discuss ways of increasing their country's exports to Iraq, a Jordanian official said.
Trade Minister Wassef Azar and Transport Minister Mohammed al-Kalaldeh will also look at ways to increase Iraqi imports via the Red Sea port of Aqaba, the official added.
Amman exported goods worth $843 million to Iraq between December 1996 and November 1999 under the UN "oil for food deal," which allows sanctions-hit Iraq to sell crude and spend the money raised on essential goods under UN supervision. The official said Jordan hoped to increase its exports under the deal.
The two countries also have a UN-approved oil and trade agreement for 2000 outside the "oil for food" deal.
Jordan's main exports to Iraq are vegetable oil, soap, leather and detergent.
A top Iraqi industrial official said during a visit to Jordan last month, that Baghdad was preparing to switch its trade back to Aqaba, which was Iraq's sole outlet to the sea during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war and in the wake of the UN sanctions imposed on Baghdad for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, but has recntly been superceded by ports in the Gulf, Iran and Syria.
The switch back to Aqaba follows recent Jordanian government decisions to reduce taxes on the port's handling services, and a visit by Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan in July. – (AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)