Jordan, US to Sign Free Trade Agreement October 24
King Abdullah II of Jordan is to witness the signature of a free trade agreement with Washington at the White House on Tuesday with US President Bill Clinton, reported AFP, quoting a Jordanian official.
Present at the ceremony will also be a number of US congressmen and representatives of major US firms, according to the Jordan Times newspaper.
Deputy Prime Minister Mohammed Halaykah, who is responsible for economic matters, went to the United States on October 18 to add the final touches to the accord, said the agency.
He said certain technical questions were outstanding, notably in the field of services and protection of intellectual property.
Prime Minister Abu Ragheb told the Jordan Times that the "agreement crowns the King's efforts to further strengthen Jordan's national economy, and attract more investment to the Kingdom."
The agreement also "underlines Jordan's vital role in the Middle East region and is a clear recognition of Jordan's achievements in its endeavor to reform its economy, and it also reflects the US administration's commitment to support Jordan's economy," said Abu Ragheb.
The legal procedures for the endorsement of the agreement will be completed early next year, said the paper.
US Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky was in Amman at the end of July to discuss the agreement, and said that substantive progress had been made to reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers between the two countries, added the paper.
In 1999, Jordan's exports to the United States totaled less than 13 million dollars, compared with 360 million in imports, said AFP.
But Jordan ranks fourth in the world among beneficiaries of US aid, amounting to nearly one billion dollars in the last three years, the agency added - (Several Sources)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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