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Deal with Turkey must be ‘win-win’ — economists

Turkey-Jordan (Photo Petra)
Turkey-Jordan (Photo Petra)
AMMAN— Representatives of the commercial and industrial sectors and economists have said that the ratification of a framework agreement for economic cooperation with Turkey must be based on equal standards and mutual benefit, stressing that the deal could serve as a launch-pad for closer trade ties, according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra.اضافة اعلان

President of the Jordan Chambers of Industry (JCI) Fathi Jaghbir said the agreement would set the ground for the setup of joint business councils based on the principles of equality, non-discrimination, and reciprocal support.

Jaghbir made it clear that the agreement, signed in 2019 and ratified a few days ago, does not mean the reintroduction of customs duties exemptions offered under a defunct free trade pact, which the Kingdom revoked in 2018 after it failed to deliver on its intended premise of boosting Jordanian exports to Turkey, Petra reported.

Jaghbir defended the repeal of the free trade agreement, and said the move to abolish it had a clear impact on the national economy and directly contributed to reducing the trade deficit, increasing government revenue, and protecting the national product against “the encroachment of Turkish imports”.

He expressed hope that the new framework agreement would usher in a new era in bilateral trade and economic relations on a basis that guarantees the interests of both parties, especially in the areas of technology transfer and exchange of expertise.

According to Jaghbir, some elements of the previous free trade agreement remained on paper, including the provision of Turkish technical support to Jordanian industry, the transfer of technological know-how, and the launch of Turkish investments in Jordan.

Jaghbir, who is also president of the Amman Chamber of Industry, emphasized that the national economy and protection of national products must prevail over any other consideration.

He expressed hope that the new agreement would establish economic cooperation with Turkey at an “acceptable level of parity”.

The new framework agreement is designed to upgrade cooperation in 16 economic areas, including trade and mutual investments, agriculture, energy, manufacturing, consumer protection, customs, logistics, and intellectual property rights.

According to data by the Amman Chamber of Commerce (ACC), the Kingdom’s exports to Turkey during the first five months of this year amounted to a modest JD9 million against JD181 million in imports.

The main Jordanian exports to the Turkish market include fertilizers, foodstuffs, lead and by-products, vegetable products, and plastics, according to Petra.

ACC President Nael Kabariti said that the ratification of the framework agreement with Turkey is aimed at strengthening relations between the two countries and drawing up a road map that paves the way for broader agreements in the future.

While describing the agreement as “preliminary”, Kabariti said it will reflect positively on both sides.

“There is no economic impact or return at the present time to the framework agreement unless talks develop in the future and new frameworks for agreements and trade exchange are established,” the ACC president said.

Kabariti called on government stakeholders to involve the private sector in the talks and even in the signing of free trade agreements with countries, according to Petra.

Head of the Jordanian Businessmen Association Hamdi Tabbaa said: “We hope that the Jordanian-Turkish agreement, which was ratified by both parties, will deliver the desired benefit better than the previous one.”

He indicated that the Jordanian-Turkish framework agreement for economic cooperation does not include customs exemptions, so it will not directly contribute to reducing import costs, but it “will have a role in converging views and building and expanding economic and trade cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit”.

“The basis to be relied upon should be reciprocity if we mean to avoid any scenario that harms the interest of the Jordanian economy at the expense of any other party,” Tabbaa concluded.

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