New Jordanian Economic Zone in Aqaba Opens for Business
Jordan's new economic zone in the southern port city of Aqaba formally opened for round-the-clock business in the early hours of Friday, aimed at attracting six billion dollars in investments and the creation of more than 70,000 jobs, said press reports.
The president of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone authority, Mohamed Kalaldeh, said that the ASEZ will be open seven days a week to achieve its goals.
ASEZ will now operate under a separate customs-free entity with a reduced sales tax of seven per cent and a flat five per cent income tax, according to the Jordan Times newspaper.
ASEZ Commissioner for Investment and Economic Development, Imad Fakhouri, said 40 potential investors have registered in the ASEZ over the past two days.
Some of them are already based in the 380-square- kilometer zone and tens of other investors have taken applications with “the intention of coming back,” Fakhouri told the Jordan Times. Official registration of firms will remain open indefinitely, said the paper.
In July, the Jordanian cabinet approved the plan and passed a law that stipulates strict curbs on the sale of land in the southern port.
The sale of land in Aqaba will now depend on the "principle of reciprocity" with the country of origin of potential investors -- thus effectively ruling out Israel, which bans land sales to foreigners.
Critics have said the project would turn Aqaba into a self-rule haven for money-launderers, smugglers and moral corruption, as well as undermine national sovereignty and open the door to Israeli land grabs – Albawaba.com
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