Report: Jordan, Iraq Fail to Agree on FTA
Jordan and Iraq have failed to reach a free trade agreement (FTA), but made substantial progress on a bilateral trade protocol, officials told Jordan Times on Wednesday.
Concluding a five-day visit to Baghdad, Trade and Industry Secretary General Samer Tawil said the two sides agreed to expand the scope of Jordanian products admitted under the bilateral trade protocols, but that a proposed free trade accord “was still under negotiation.”
Jordanian officials and private sector businessmen hoped the visit would yield an FTA between the two countries similar to those Iraq recently sealed with Egypt and Syria last month.
However, AFP reported Wednesday that the two coutries agreed on the “outlines” of a proposed free trade accord, which would be Baghdad's third with a fellow Arab state.
"We have agreed on the clauses of a planned accord to set up a free trade zone that the two countries will submit to their governments," said Mohammad Mehdi Saleh, quoted by the official news agency INA.
Tawil told the Jordan Times that Jordanians and their Iraqi counterparts discussed measures to enforce the November trade protocol and boost exports of goods of Jordanian origin of high value-added to the Iraqi market. Describing the visit as positive, Tawil added that both sides have also decided to shift $5 million in Iraqi debts to Jordan's private sector on the protocol.
Under the existing trade agreement between the two countriest, Amman exports 450 million dollars worth of goods to Iraq a year. In return, it receives five million tonnes of petroleum in 2001, half for free and the rest at preferential rates – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)