Shaath: Israel the 'Obstacle' Facing Jordan-Palestinian Trade

Published May 16th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Palestinian international cooperation minister Nabil Shaath said Monday Israel was standing in the way to improving trade relations with Jordan and said both sides should work closely together to remove that "obstacle". 

His remarks came at the end of talks with senior Jordanian government officials on ways of boosting trade relations. 

"Removing Israel's economic hegemony (on Palestinian territories) will mean opening the door to Jordanian-Palestinian relations," Shaath said. 

"Our cooperation will be aimed at removing this Israeli obstacle," he said. 

Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdel Ilah al-Khatib who attended the talks along with Trade Minister Mohammad Halayqa and other senior officials said discussions focused on ways of boosting trade and investment ties. 

Talks centered on ways of facilitating the "exchange of goods" between Jordan and Palestinian territories and "removing obstacles" standing in the way, he said without elaborating. 

Trucks carrying goods between Jordan and the Palestinian territories cannot transport the goods directly to the customers but must unload them at Israeli checkpoints, reload them onto other trucks and continue their journey. 

Both sides have complained that this, and steep taxes of up to 1,000 dollars per truck, puts an added financial burden on their trade relations and hampers its development. 

Israeli trade minister Ran Cohen said in Amman earlier this year that he would look into reducing the taxes and means of facilitating the transport of goods between the two sides of the Jordan River - (AFP)  

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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