The Joint Jordanian Iraqi Higher Committee is expected to hold a meeting next month to discuss the prospect of raising the ceiling of the trade protocol between Jordan and Iraq, according to Minister of Transport Mohammad Kalaldeh.
Speaking upon his return to Amman after several days in Baghdad, Kalaldeh said the Jordanian delegation, also accompanied by Minister of Industry and Trade Wasif Azar, met a number of Iraqi government officials who expressed Iraq's readiness to increase the quota of Jordan's exports to the Iraqi market within the framework of the UN oil-for-food agreement.
The 2000 trade protocol with Iraq covers Jordanian exports worth $300 million in exchange for 4.8 million tones of Iraq crude, half free and half at a discounted price.
Jordan exported $843 million products to Iraq since the oil-for-food agreement took effect in December 1996 until the end of 1999.
During the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) Iraqi trade depended totally on the port of Aqaba.
According to Kalaldeh an agreement was reached with the Iraqi government on increasing the volume of trade between the two countries and to import most of Iraq's goods via the port city of Aqaba.
Practical moves have been taken to increase Iraqi imports via Aqaba, said Kalaldeh who noted that the Iraqis have taken immediate steps in this matter by announcing that two vessels laden with rice and Canadian wheat are on their way to Aqaba.
Describing the visit to Iraq as successful Kalaldeh said that Baghdad has promised to continue to buy Jordanian products on condition that they are of high quality and at competitive prices.
Kalaldeh said Amman has submitted a request to the UN to reestablish its air link with Iraq and was awaiting a response by next month.
Baghdad has urged Amman to reopen its airspace for planes flying to and from Iraq.
The UN trade embargo imposed on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait remains in place, but there is disagreement over if apply to passenger flights which are not specifically mentioned in the sanctions resolutions.
Meanwhile, a Jordanian delegation representing the Amman Chamber of Industry led by its Chairman Othman Bdeir arrived in Baghdad for talks on economic and trade cooperation.
The delegation, which is expected to remain in Iraq until Tuesday, plans to meet with private sector businessmen and government officials. — ( Jordan Times )
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )