$1.384b Jordan’s trade balance surplus with the US in first 11 months of 2021

2. Textile workers
Jordanian garment workers are seen during their shift in a local factory. (Photo: Flickr)
AMMAN – Jordan's trade balance surplus with the US in the January-November 2021 period stood at $1.384 billion, according to President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Jordan Mohammad Batayneh.اضافة اعلان

The surplus is the result of the difference between the total value of Jordanian imports from the US ($1.1 billion) and the total value of Jordan’s exports to the US in the said period (which reached $2.5 billion), Batayneh said.

Jordan was the first Arab country to sign a free trade agreement with US, in 2000. The agreement entered into force fully in January 2010. It incentivized American corporations like Walmart and Target to establish some apparel factories in Jordan, in view of the advantage of lower costs.

The most notable goods Jordan imports from the US include airplanes, like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, a variety of American-manufactured cars, and food products, Batayneh said.

“Items of clothing and textiles are among the top local exports to the American market, as well as a host of other products, like air conditioners for example. Jordan also exports to the US food products, such as Middle Eastern sweets and hummus, jewelry and Dead Sea products, like sea salt,” Batayneh told Jordan News.

“There are multiple stakeholders who will reap the benefits of this trade surplus with the US. Primarily, this is economically helpful to the people of Jordan, in the sense that it creates jobs in the Kingdom, and that reflects positively on employment numbers. The surplus will also make the Jordanian supply chain quite active, as it mobilizes multiple sectors, like the transport sector. It can also generate revenue for the government by taxation on certain fees, although many of Jordan’s exports to America are exempt from fees,” Batayneh added.

“The aim is to increase the volume of trade, and this goal is a priority for us. In the future, Jordan must attempt to diversify its exports to the US. At the American Chamber of Commerce in Jordan, we have a specific program that focuses on the diversification of exports to the US, which plans to achieve a 15 percent increase over the next three years,” said Batayneh.

Despite the promising trade balance surplus with the US, the figures  released last Wednesday by the Jordanian Department of Statistics for the first 11 months of 2021 show that the overall trade balance deficit (with all countries) for Jordan increased by 29 percent compared to previous years, reaching an aggregate of JD7.824 billion.

Economist Wajdi Makhamreh told Jordan News: “This trade balance surplus that Jordan has with the US can be beneficial, because it can reduce the overall trade deficit of the Jordanian economy, and any reduction of the overall trade balance deficit, is a desirable outcome.”

“The US is one of the biggest providers of foreign aid to Jordan. This surplus is a good indicator for other countries, as it can increase foreign reserves in the Central Bank of Jordan. It can also help maintain the strength of the Jordanian currency,” Makhamreh added.

Economic analyst Mohammad Basheer told Jordan News: “In addition to expanding the volume of trade with the US, Jordan should look to expand trade with neighboring countries, as well increase our exports to India, China and other East Asian trading partners. These countries already import minerals like phosphate from Jordan. If we want to decrease the overall trade deficit in Jordan, this can be done only by enhancing our industrial and agriculture sectors, and reducing the high costs associated with these two sectors.”

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