Industrialists want to revive protectionism

(Photo: JNews)
AMMAN — The percentage of imported goods that have local alternatives makes up 35 per cent of total imports, According to Amman Chamber of Industry (ACI).اضافة اعلان

The ACI said in remarks emailed to Jordan News that in figures, this percentage equates to about JD4.5 billion annually, which makes up a third of the size of the local. They also reported some negligence with regards to some aspects in the protection of national production in Jordan.

“The total number of jobs that have been lost due to unfair competition could reach a third of the job opportunities created annually by the national industry,” they added.

The chamber cited that despite not having full protection, national industry creates more than 5,000 jobs yearly. This, he said, proves the urgency of reinforcing the presence of national products, which would reflect on industrial productivity and job generation.

Salameh Darawi, a journalist and economic advisor, said that the need for protectionism has increased in the last period. He reported that some international trade agreements have allowed for the unfair competition of foreign commodities against local production.

“This caused damage to a lot of Jordanian products, which requires us to interfere in protecting them,” he added.

Industrialists are fighting back.

According to Wael Kloub, director of National Production Protection Directorate (NPPD), there were 21 complaints from national establishments about the increase in imports in 2019 and 24 in 2020.

According to Kloub, these complaints have been investigated in accordance with national and international legislation. Nine cases have been accepted by the Cabinet and will receive protective measures.

The official also pointed out the directorate’s coordination with the Department of Statistics (DoS) and Jordanian Customs Directorate to expedite the process of obtaining data related to imports.

Kloub added that the NPPD has taken the initiative to develop its electronic services in order to support local producers across all sectors in Jordan and facilitate the procedures.

The conservation and protection of local producers from dumping operations and unfair competition is very important, says Darawi.

“National establishments pay taxes, employ Jordanian workers and use Jordanian means of production. Therefore, they must receive care and attention from the state,” he added.

According to the ACI, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of moving towards a “self-sufficient Jordan”. They believe that national establishments have proved their ability, as local markets have not witnessed a shortage in essential products.

Some of the suggestions provided by the ACI include implementing the principle of reciprocity in trade, limiting imports and guaranteeing fair competition by ensuring just taxation.

They have also recommended the reinforcement of the share of local industry in government procurement by raising the percentage of priority pricing to Jordanian industries in government bidding to 25 percent and setting a mandatory rate of no less than 15 percent from governmental biddings to the products of small and medium establishments.

“The pandemic has ensured the strength of local industries that are characterized with flexibility and the capability to adapt to external factors. Despite the challenges, there are a lot of incentives and opportunities for investment,” the ACI added.