Official: Jordan-PA FTA Hinges on Israeli Approval
Jordan is willing to clinch a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Palestinian Authority, provided the latter makes the needed arrangements with the Israelis, a senior Jordanian trade ministry official said on Wednesday.
Following a meeting with a visiting Palestinian delegation, ministry's secretary general, Samer Tawil, said the kingdom was open to discussions and ready to sign an FTA with the Palestinians, who need to obtain Israeli approval on such a deal, reported the Jordan Times.
During the meeting, attended by Palestinian and Jordanian trade and industry officials, the two sides discussed widening the scope of goods traded between the two neighbors as duty-free items.
Abdul Hafiz Nofal, director general of the Palestinian economy and trade ministry, said there was a plan to add more items to the “exempted list” of products, which number over 120.
He added that the move was a step towards arranging an FTA.
The discussions also focused on the need for a reciprocal recognition of standards and specifications applied in both countries and facilitating trade exchange.
Nofal, heading a seven-member delegation, said the two sides also discussed lowering fees imposed by the PA on Jordanian goods, the paper said.
“Starting next month, we will eliminate two kinds of fees we charge on Jordanian trucks,” he said.
The meeting will present its recommendations for endorsement before the joint ministerial committee, which is expected to convene before the end of this year.
The main Jordanian exports to the Palestinian market are cement, paints and construction material, while citrus and processed food make up the bulk of Palestinian imports to the kingdom.
Since the late September eruption of the latest Palestinian uprising against 34 years of Israeli military occupation, Jordanian exporters have complained of stringent Israeli security measures which have hindered the flow of goods into the PA-controlled territories.
Jordanian goods reach the Palestinian market via King Hussein Bridge and Prince Mohammad Bridge, both under Israeli control on the Palestinian side – Albawaba.com
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