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Jordan, Iraq $40m MoU to carry out furnishing, interior works projects in Baghdad

Deputy PM says visits to Iraq ‘fruitful’, hails progress on multiple cooperation, joint action frontiers

By JT - Jan 29,2019 - Last updated at Jan 29,2019

Trucks crossing over the border from Iraq can be seen in this photo taken in 2015. A delegation of Jordanian ministers, state officials and representatives of the private sector met with their Iraqi counterparts recently to discuss furthering cooperation on trade and energy (JT file photo)

AMMAN — The Jordan Furniture Exporters and Manufacturers Association (JFEMA) on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with representatives of the Iraqi private sector, to carry out furnishing and interior works projects at a total value of $40 million.

A delegation of Jordanian ministers, state officials and representatives of the private sector met with their Iraqi counterparts to discuss furthering cooperation.

Multiple deals were signed to advance joint efforts in regards to trade and energy cooperation, among other fields, according to Deputy Prime Minister Rajai Muasher.

“We signed and initiated a free trade agreement outlining recommendations for the mutual preservation of local-product competitiveness, to serve the economic interest of both countries,” he noted.

JFEMA President Samer Katibi was quoted by the Jordan News Agency, Petra, as saying that the role of Jordanian company representatives in the official delegation to Iraq is to build and strengthen partnerships and cooperation with the Iraqi private sector.

Local news outlets quoted Katibi as saying that the Jordanian delegation would implement the project to furnish the largest commercial mall in Baghdad, as well as the Iraqi capital’s largest hotel and residential apartment projects. 

Meanwhile, last Sunday, Jordan and Iraq agreed to a door-to-door freight shipping agreement, which allows Jordanian cargo trucks to cross the border into Iraq. 

Jordanian trucks bound for Iraq have not been allowed to cross the Karama Border Crossing with Iraq due to security concerns. Instead, the goods would be unloaded once the trucks arrived, moved to an Iraqi truck waiting on the other side of the border, and then delivered, in what is known as a back-to-back freight shipping mechanism.

Mohammad Dawood, president of the Jordan Truck Owners Association, said in previous remarks to The Jordan Times that the current shipping method has been going on for well over a year due to safety precautions, describing it as “costly and time-consuming”. 

His Majesty King Abdullah paid a visit to Baghdad on January 14, where he held talks with Iraqi President Barham Saleh and senior officials on bilateral relations and ways to enhance them in all fields.

In a joint press conference with Iraqi State Minister for Financial Affairs Fuad Hussein on Monday, Muasher said that joint work to launch the two-way effort is on schedule.

These efforts include but are not limited to power linkage and oil conveyance projects.

According to Muasher, the visits were fruitful, having laid the foundation for historic bolstering of bilateral economic ties, resulting in the agreements underway.

“The agreement to implement the Basra-Aqaba oil pipeline was also signed, and is currently under review by the Iraqi cabinet. We are optimistic that implementation will begin soon,” Muasher stated. 

Further agreements for cooperation and collaboration in the fields of healthcare, finance, industry and agriculture are being discussed, he added.

“The common areas of interest are vast… as bilateral deliberation and meetings will continue, in Amman and Baghdad, to arrive at the intended level of cooperation, against any and all odds,” he said.

Political will is evident on both sides, as they are each other’s lungs, Muasher reiterated, highlighting that Iraq is as interested as ever in building “strategic ties with its Jordanian neighbour”.

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