The Kingdom's public and private sectors and the struggling economy are set to face the challenges of globalization.
"The question is whether our goods will survive competition on the global market, as to prices, quality, and production mentality," Trade and Industry Minister Mohammad Halaiqa told the Jordan Times newspaper on Monday, "And the answer to this question is controversial," he admitted. Halaiqa called upon domestic industries to improve their performance in the four strategic areas of management, quality, production and promotion.
"Jordan has made its decision and is now part of the global economy: There is no going back on this very basic policy," remarked Halaiqa, who is also the acting Minister of Planning. At a recent seminar, he said, "The government has almost completed its homework in putting the legal framework in place. Now, it is the turn of the private sector," he said. The conference was organized by the Euro-Jordanian Business Service Team, as part of a three year plan launched in 1998 by the EU to provide specialized consultancy to Jordanian enterprises, improve their performance, and enhance the capacity of Jordanian businesses. The main goal of the conference was to examine the rules of origins and preferences and explain the association agreement and its implications to Jordanian exporters.
The Head of the European Commission Delegation to Jordan, James Morgan, emphasized the importance of EU-funded programs devised to aid local industries survive European competition after a free-trade zone is created, by 2010, in accordance to the agreements. A 40 million Euros project devised by the Industrial Modernization Program (IMP) announced earlier this year by Brussels, will help Jordanian industries in all fields. According to Morgan, the IMP will support Jordanian companies by offering financial and training help, as well as guidance in policy development in the public sector. The IMP, Morgan told more than 100 executives attending the seminar, will provide companies with direct services, financial support, and training, in addition to offering institutional and policy support to the public sector.
The Euro-Jordan Association Agreement is expected to take effect by the year's end. But experts contend that WTO membership and the Euro-Jordan Association Agreement are not panaceas for the struggling Jordanian economy in the face of globalization. "Important as they are, the Euro-Jordan Association Agreement and entry into the WTO are no more than a starting point," Morgan said.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)