A number of Jordanian companies want to switch from dealing with Israel to trading with Iraq, the chamber of industry in Amman said Saturday.
"These Jordanian companies have asked the chamber of industry to pass on this request to the Iraqi authorities, who refuse to deal with any company that has links with Israel," chamber chairman Osman Bdeir told AFP.
Iraq is a "more important strategic market" for them, and the bosses said they were ready to make a commitment with Baghdad to break any links they have with Israel, he said.
Jordanian business sources say about 50 companies have done business with Israel since the the two countries concluded a peace agreement in 1994. Bdeir refused to give the name of the companies wanting to make the switch, or to say how many there were, but said they were companies specialising in "consumer goods."
He also said he himself would go to Baghdad in the next week to discuss ways of strengthening economic links with Iraqi officials.
Iraqi Trade Minister Mohamed Mahdi Saleh is expected in Amman on Saturday afternoon for a two-day visit during which he will hold talks with his Jordanian counterpart, Wassef Azar, an official Jordanian source said.
The two countries have an oil deal and trade agreement for 2000, under which Jordan's exports will be worth no more than 300 million dollars, in exchange for 4.8 million tonnes of Iraqi oil. Jordan receives half the oil free, and the remainder at preferential tariffs.
Jordan's main exports to Iraq are vegetable oil, soap, leather and detergent. – (AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )