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Pilot project to reduce unemployment launched

By Laila Azzeh - Apr 26,2017 - Last updated at Apr 26,2017

The Ministry of Labour, the EU and the International Labour Organisation sign a pilot project agreement in Amman on Wednesday (Photo courtesy of the Labour Ministry)

AMMAN – A new pilot project to help reduce unemployment and facilitate the relaxation of the rules of origin agreement was launched on Wednesday in cooperation between the government and international stakeholders. 

The Ministry of Labour, the EU and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) signed the agreement on Wednesday, under which Jordanians and Syrians alike will be put in contact with employers, raising their chances to find decent work opportunities.

Under the one-million-euro project, the ILO will facilitate the implementation of the Jordan-EU agreement on simplified rules of origin, which seeks to help Jordan access the EU market. 

The relaxed rules will be applied once 200,000 jobs for Syrian refugees are created and when those Syrians are issued work permits, according to the agreement.

For Jordanian industries to be able to benefit from the EU simplified rules of origin, each factory needs to have Syrian employees constituting no less than 15 per cent of its manpower. The rate will be increased to 25 per cent in the third year of the agreement. 

According to organisers, the ILO will extend the core services of one of its programmes — Better Work Jordan — to further manufacturing sectors, to help Jordanian companies abide by the country’s labour law and meet international labour standards. 

The pilot project also seeks to support the implementation of the EU-Jordan Compact, which includes assisting Jordanian companies to take advantage of trade opportunities provided by the new trade facilitation, leading to job creation for both Jordanian and Syrian refugees. 

Commending the significance of the scheme, Labour Ministry Secretary General Farouq Hadidi praised the EU and ILO’s involvement in developing the capabilities of Jordanians to export to the European market.  

“A major objective for our government is to increase exports to the EU market, which would benefit the country’s economy, society and our guests, the Syrian refugees,” Hadidi said. 

“We aim to make them part of our economic development and include them within our production facilities, because we believe that joint efforts from different countries to open channels for our exports will develop our economy and help Jordan provide a better life for the Syrian refugees living here.”

European Union Ambassador to Jordan Andrea Matteo Fontana said that the EU is assisting Jordan in making the best use of the simplified rules of origin arrangement.   

"The formal launch of this new scheme will take place at next week's high-level event on the rules of origin in Brussels, kick-starting trade opportunities across Europe for Jordan,” he added. 

Also under the project agreement, Better Work Jordan — a partnership between the ILO and the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group— will collaborate with the Ministry of Labour to expand its core services of assessment, advice and training, so far limited to the garment industry, to additional industrial exporting sectors included in the rules of origin agreement. 

ILO Regional Director for Arab States Ruba Jaradat welcomed the agreement, expressing her enthusiasm for the achievement.

“This project will help manufacturing companies recruit Jordanians and Syrian refugees, while ensuring that the jobs created, following the EU-Jordan trade agreement, are decent jobs,” Jaradat said.


“Of course, the success of the initiative will also depend on the number of European buyers that will purchase goods from Jordan, and the capacity of Jordanian factories to comply with high European quality standards. The ILO will also work closely with the government and social partners to boost the capacity of the factories for export and job creation,” Jaradat said.

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