Jordan and Kuwait recently initialed a draft free trade agreement (FTA) that would zero tariffs on two-way agricultural and industrial trade between the two states. The FTA is to become effective in 2002, reported Al-Rai. The draft, signed during a Jordanian-Kuwaiti Preparatory Committee meeting, is expected to be approved by trade ministers on both sides in the near future, reported Jordanian Times.
The bilateral meetings were co-chaired by the secretary general of the Jordanian Trade and Industry Ministry, Samer Tawil, and his Kuwaiti counterpart Bader Abdul Rahim. Topics on the agenda included increasing the flow of goods and boosting exports between the two states. The trade ministers also contemplated cooperation in taxation, clearance and transportation.
The first initiative under the framework of the FTA will be to facilitate land transportation for goods and to ease visa restrictions for potential investors. Rahim encouraged Jordanian investors to finance projects in Kuwait, stressing that the country passed a legal amendment that grants foreign investors 100 percent ownership of their investments in the emirate.
According to the Jordanian Department of Statistics, trade exchange between Jordan and Kuwait rose to around 17 million Jordanian Dinars ($23 million) during the first half of this year as compared to around JD 13 million ($18 million) recorded during the same period the year before. Jordanian exports to the emirate include produce, cement, clothing and fertilizers, while Kuwaiti imports concentrate on glass, metals and paper.
The FTA will replace a 1986 bilateral trade protocol, which “no longer complies with the World Trade Organization's rules or meets legislative developments in both countries," Tawil said. Bilateral trade currently does not exceed $50 million annually, having been dropped to a minimum during the early 1990s when Kuwait accused Jordan of siding with Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War. — (menareport.com)
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