Three Free Trade Zones with $350 million in overall investment are to be set up in Aqaba and Ghor Safi, a senior official source said on Tuesday. The Jordanian Ministry of Finance has signed agreements with three companies on Monday to set up the zones, expected to be finished in 2002, according to Minister of Finance Michel Marto.
Marto said that the trade zones will specialize in producing fertilizers, especially new higher value derivatives of bromine and magnesium. The first agreement was signed with the Jordan Magnesia Company, where the company will set up a 150-dunum zone, with a total investment package of $102 million. The company will produce magnesium oxide and its derivatives.
The second agreement was signed with Jordan Bromine, the overall package for the agreement is $145 million, according to Marto who added that the American company, Albermale, is also a partner in the agreement.
The former Jordan Dead Sea Industries Company, formed by the Arab Potash Company (APC), established the Jordan Magnesia Company in which it holds the majority of shares, and Jordan Bromine, where it maintains a 40 percent stake, both of which are now retained wholly by the APC.
The third agreement, said Marto, was signed with Kemira Agro Oy of Finland. The agreement entails the construction of a free trade zone at a total cost of $106 million. The zone will produce potassium nitrate and dicalcium phosphate.
“[This] shows that there is an interest in Jordan as a [hub] for foreign investment,” said Marto.
“The agreements are excellent, and we would like to see more foreign investment [that is attracted] by our good environment,” he added.
The Free Trade Corporation last week in a report carried by the Jordanian news agency, Petra said that trade volume in free zones has increased by 9 percent, reaching 980,000 tones during the first nine months of the year 2000, compared to the same period in 1999. — ( Jordan Times )
By Oula Al Farawati