Jordan Hopes to Become First Arab Country to Sign FTA with Yemen
Jordan hopes to be the first Arab country to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with Yemen, officials said.
Like several other Arab countries, Jordan maintains trade protocols with Yemen. But none of these protocols provide for tariff exemptions or preferential treatment for foreign products entering Yemen, according to the Jordan Times.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Jordanian-Yemeni Preparatory Committee, Yemeni Vice Minister of Planning and Development Abdul Rahman Tarmoom said his government had set up a ministerial committee to look into ways to address the exemptions issue.
Although “customs duties are a major source of income to the budget,” said Tarmoom, they are a hindrance to establishing FTAs.
Samer Tawil, the secretary general of Jordan's Trade and Industry Ministry, said Amman had presented a draft FTA to Sanaa last year, which was currently being studied by the ministerial committee.
During the meeting Saturday of the bilateral committee, the two sides will discuss means of boosting the presently low volume of trade, which stood at JD12.5 million last year — JD11 million in Jordanian exports to Yemen and JD1.5 million in Yemeni exports to the kingdom.
Pharmaceuticals and hygienic paper form the bulk of Jordanian exports to Yemen, while fish is the main Yemeni export to Jordan, said the paper.
The two sides will also discuss organizing more Jordanian exhibitions in Yemen, as the last such exhibit was held in 1992.
Tawil said there was a proposal to set up a joint Jordanian-Yemeni fishing company. He added that, following King Abdullah's visit to Yemen in May, Jordanian fishing boats had been permitted in principle to fish in waters off Yemeni territory.
Other topics on the committee's agenda include enhancing cooperation in several fields including economy, education, youth and sports, and the media.
The committee will present its expected cooperation agreements for endorsement to the Higher Jordanian-Yemeni Committee — co-chaired by the premiers of both countries — at meeting on Sunday – Albawaba.com
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