A Swedish trade delegation en route to Baghdad to take part in the Baghdad International Fair 2000, took advantage of their brief stay in Jordan to exchange trade and investment views with their Jordanian counterparts at the Amman Chamber of Industry (ACI). ACI Chairman Othman Bdeir briefed the delegation on investment opportunities in Jordan.
“Jordan has already joined the World Trade Organization, the European Partnership, and has now signed the Free Trade Agreement with the US,” he said. Jordan is the fourth country after Canada, Mexico and Israel to sign a free trade agreement with the US. Under the agreement, virtually all tariffs on industrial goods and farm products will be eliminated within 10 years. Jordan's banking, telecommunications and courier services will be opened to US companies.
Intellectual property protection will be stepped up.
The Kingdom has excellent and efficient paved roads, which not only reach every part of Jordan but also connect it to neighboring countries, with direct access to Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Gulf countries.
“Jordan will develop in time into an active trade and industrial center to serve the region and especially the Arab countries which absorb most of our exports,” Bdeir told delegates. “We would like the delegation to [appreciate] Jordan's strategic place on the map, and extent to which Swedish factories and companies can benefit from the new circumstances in Jordan,” he added.
Hans F. Gronwall, head of the delegation and also the Swedish Trade Council ambassador, said a meeting earlier in the day in the Ministry of Trade and Industry also went very well. “We exchanged views on trade and investment and had a very good understanding of what sectors the Jordanian government is concentrating on, such as the phosphates, textiles and bio-tech,” Gronwall said.
He added, “With the privatization processes, and the opening up to markets, there is a very good platform for the private industry to work on.” Among the Swedish delegates from 20 companies were representatives of ABB Transmission and Distribution, which produces equipment and systems for transmission and distribution of electrical energy, Volvo Construction Equipment International, Volvo Truck Corporation and Ericsson, among others.
“Jordanian businessmen can benefit a great deal from enhancing bilateral relations and boosting cooperation,” Bdeir said. “Sweden is one of the most advanced industrial countries, and an example of this is its tremendous advancement in communications, which is considered now to be a major element in industrial progress,” he added.
On Tuesday, a Jordanian delegation led by Minister of Trade and Industry Wasif Azar will join their Swedish counterparts when they leave for Baghdad to take part in the international exhibition in Iraq. “We hope to benefit a great deal from the exhibition as we have never had as many companies participating as in this show,” Bdeir said.
Eighty-three Jordanian companies are taking part in the Baghdad International Fair 2000. The trade balance during the first eight months of this year was heavily in Sweden's favor, with imports from the European country reaching nearly $22 million, while Jordanian exports stood at $100,000.
In 1999, the main Swedish imports from the Kingdom were phosphate, potash, fertilizers and pharmaceutical products, while barley, timber, cars and spare parts were major exports to Jordan. — ( Jordan Times )
By Dana Abu Sham
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)