The Jordanian daily al-Rai reported Wednesday that Jordan Agricultural Minister Sa’id Al-Masri assured the Jordanian public that no produce entering Jordan from Israel would originate from Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
“No imports from Israel are produced in settlements,” Al-Masri said in a press statement. “The position of the Agriculture Ministry falls in line with official political positions with regards to the illegality of the settlements,” he added.
Israel and Jordan signed a peace agreement in 1994, ending hostilities and opening the door for trade between the two countries. Israeli exports to Jordan include paper products, textiles, food and agricultural products, electric and electronic equipment, plastic, rubber, car parts and chemical products.
Israeli exports to Jordan fell 30 percent in the first three months of 2009 to $71.9 million, in the face of the global economic downturn and anger over Israeli military operations into Gaza Strip.
While agricultural imports from Israel to Jordan remain minor, promised by Al-Masri not to exceed one percent of total agricultural imports, tracking their origin has been difficult.
Nevertheless, Agricultural Engineers Association Chairman Abdul Hadi says that both the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Agriculture can request a certificate to trace the origin of the product. The European Union requests such certificates from Israel to prevent imports from West Bank settlements.
Anti-normalizations groups in Jordan, in addition to Jordanian farming interest groups, have, however, called for an outright ban on all imports from Israel.