Exports to Canada up by annual average of 21.75% — envoy

Canadian Ambassador Donica Pottie canada
Canadian Ambassador of Jordan Donica Pottie. (Photo: Petra)
AMMAN — Jordanian exports to Canada increased by an annual average of 21.75% in the past 25 years, from $885,000 in 1997 to $121.4 million in 2021, according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra.اضافة اعلان

The comments were made by Canadian Ambassador Donica Pottie, who said Canadian exports to Jordan in the same period only increased by an average of 5.76%.

In 2021, Canada exported only $59.7 million worth of products to Jordan.

In an interview with Petra on Saturday, which coincides with Canada National Day, the envoy said Jordan is the only Arab country with which Canada has a free trade agreement (FTA), which came into force in 2012.

Additionally, the two friendly countries also have agreements in labor cooperation, avoiding dual- taxation, environmental protection and promoting investments.

On the FTA, there is a lot of untapped potential, the ambassador said. For the past three years, she said the embassy has promoted the FTA with the objective of increasing bilateral trade.

The embassy, she pointed out, has conducted webinars and in-person seminars in Amman, Aqaba, and in Canada, to increase awareness of the FTA, and promote opportunities to business people on both sides.

Canada is supporting Jordanian small and medium enterprises (SME), and manufacturers through the Trade Facilitation Office (TFO), which held two workshops in Amman to help Jordanian exporters and empower businesswomen improve their capabilities to export to Canada and to other markets, she pointed out.

The embassy has been cooperating with the Aqaba Specialized Economic Zone and Aqaba Development Corporation to highlight the importance of Aqaba port as an excellent hub and entry point to Middle-Eastern markets, for Canadian exporters. This is starting to yield some positive results, she noted.

In 2016, Canada stepped up its support to Jordan to help the Kingdom cope with an influx of refugees caused by the war in Syria, and bolstered its efforts to combat and prevent violent extremism and terrorist threats posed by Daesh, Pottie said.

Between 2016 and 2022, Canada invested more than $4 billion to respond to the crises in Iraq and Syria, and address their impact on Lebanon, Jordan and the region, the ambassador explained.

She said the plan included supporting Jordan’s efforts to build the resilience of individuals, communities and institutions through better access to quality education, sustainable economic growth, with a focus on economic reform and the empowerment of women and youth, and inclusive governance, including improved municipal services.

Canada has committed over $575.7 million for Jordan since 2016. The amount includes $298 million in development assistance, $209.8 million in humanitarian assistance, and $67.9 million in civilian stabilization and security assistance, she added.

Jordan has had an embassy in Canada since 1975, nearly 11 years after diplomatic relations were established between the two countries. From 1964 until 1982 ambassadors of Canada to Jordan were resident in Lebanon, but Ottawa has since grown its operations and mission staff in Jordan three fold, she noted.

Jordan is a key partner for Canada in the Middle East and the two countries have a longstanding friendship built over decades, Pottie said.

Canada and Jordan also share strong people-to-people links through the Jordanian-Canadian community, Jordanian students in Canada, and Canadians living and working in Jordan.

Canada commends the work of His Majesty King Abdullah in establishing the Aqaba Process to enhance international coordination and cooperation in countering terrorism and extremism, she noted.

“It is a useful mechanism to coordinate efforts both inside the region and beyond, recognizing that this is a global threat,” she said. “The Aqaba Process has made important contributions to global efforts. For example, it identified early on issues with social media and then held meetings in California with the major platforms.”

Additionally, she noted the process was also the first fora to hold a meeting on the ways extremism could try to use the pandemic to further their goals.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was pleased to accept His Majesty’s invitation to attend the virtual Aqaba Process heads of state and government meeting in 2020, she pointed out.

Ottawa’s partnership with Jordan includes funding from Canada’s Counter-Terrorism Capacity Building Program. A Canadian Armed Forces Training Assistance Team is based in Jordan to support capacity-building in the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army (JAF).

Other initiatives to support the JAF include a rehabilitated military border road that covers over 63km and 11 renovated border towers along the Jordan-Syria frontier, she noted.

Canada is also delivering specialized firearms, search and medical training to build the capacity of female police officers in critical incident response. This initiative, delivered alongside technical assistance to the Gender Unit within Jordan’s Public Security Directorate, supports Jordan’s National Action Plan for advancing the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, she added.

Canada is committed to supporting Jordan’s capacity to provide internal security and defend its borders, the ambassador said, adding that Canada and Jordan signed a memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation in the spring of 2012 and both countries’ armies have a close relationship.

Pottie maintained that the memos on preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction and related materials, and on increasing security and stabilization cooperation were signed in 2013 and 2016 respectively.

Canada and Jordan are both founding supporters of the “Christchurch Call to Action to Eliminate Terrorist and Violent Extremist Content Online,” she said.

On refuges, she said Jordan’s hosting a large number of refugees places enormous pressures on its infrastructure and services. Jordan has been generous in supporting the Palestinians, Iraqi and, more recently, Syrian refugees.

Canada, she noted, appreciates Jordan’s generosity and is contributing to Jordan’s investment in education, health and job creation, for both refugees and host communities.

Through development and humanitarian assistance programs, Canada supports Jordan’s efforts to provide a safe haven for over 660,000 registered Syrian refugees, who have taken sanctuary in the country, according to the envoy.

Canada is a resettlement country and Jordan offers a safe environment from which families can be processed for resettlement in Canada, according to Pottie.

On Canada’s position on the Palestinian issue, the Jordanian role in regards to peace efforts, and the Hashemite guardianship over holy shrines in Jerusalem, she said Canada supports a two-state solution, and the Jordan’s custodianship over Jerusalem’s sanctities.

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