The Dutch-Jordanian Joint Business Council is holding meetings on bilateral trade and investment opportunities, an official from the council said on Saturday. The Dutch delegation's three-day visit to the Kingdom Around met with 60 local businessmen from various sectors, including IT, telecommunication, construction, food and beverage companies attended a working session and.
“Investment opportunities in many sectors of the economy could be explored. The role of the private sector in Jordan is expanding, especially in the infrastructure sectors where the government used to have monopoly or exclusivity,” Hamdi Tabba'a, Jordan Businessmen Association chairman, said.
He added that many sectors looked promising, as lucrative business could be established in tourism, water, energy, IT, telecommunication and agro-industrial sectors. Trade and investment developments between the two countries were also highlighted in the meeting.
“The Free Trade Agreement, signed between Jordan and the US at the end of October, will increase investment opportunities in the country,” the Dutch ambassador to Jordan, Marjanne de Kwaasteniet, said. Adding that “the European Union and Jordan have also signed an Association Agreement three years ago.”
The agreement is still not in effect, as ratification procedures in three of the fifteen member-states has not been finalized yet. The ambassador reassured businessmen that the Netherlands had ratified the agreement in November 1999.
When the agreement goes in force, Jordanian industrial exports would have free access to the EU, while duties and tariffs on EU imports into Jordan will be phased out gradually, depending on the type of product, over a 12-year transition period.
“In agriculture, the agreement grants freer entry to a number of Jordanian products as vegetables, fruit juice, tomatoes, and cheese among other things,” de Kwaasteniet said. Adding that “no concessions would be given to EU agricultural exports to Jordan, which would be subject to duty.”
The situation would be reviewed after four years, when both sides look at further liberalization possibilities. Relations between the two countries go back in time, but in a move to strengthen and advance relations and ties, in 1996.
“Jordan is trying to develop its resources in an attempt to follow up on globalization and IT. The presence of the delegation is taking place at a suitable time,” the Jordanian-Dutch Friendship Association Chairman Raouf Abu Jaber said. Ten Jordanian IT and telecommunications experts will attend a workshop in the Netherlands in the first quarter of next year.
“Delft University of Technology (DUT) with the support of the Dutch government, IT companies and the Lutfia Rabbani Foundation will host a workshop for IT and telecommunication experts from various local organizations to assist Jordan in these sectors,” said Salim Rabbani, chairman of the Dutch-Jordanian Joint Business Council.
“DUT, the oldest and largest university of technology in the Netherlands,” according to Rabbani, “played a leading role in innovation and new technological development.”
The delegation is expected to hold individual meetings on Sunday with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Affairs Mohammad Halaiqa and chief commissioner of Aqaba Special Economic Zone, Mohammad Kalaldeh. — ( Jordan Times )
By Rana Awwad
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)