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Studies underway for Jordan-Iraq industrial zone on border

By Mohammad Ghazal - Mar 12,2019 - Last updated at Mar 12,2019

AMMAN — Studies for the establishment of the joint free Jordanian-Iraqi industrial zone at the border between the two countries have begun, a government official said on Tuesday.

“Currently, studies are underway to implement the project which will help increase investments and trade cooperation,” Yanal Barmawi, spokesperson of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supply, told The Jordan Times.

Both countries have begun taking border measures necessary for the establishment of the zone, he said.

The two countries allocated a 4,000-dunum plot for the first phase of the project, according to Barmawi, which could be expanded to 10,000 dunums, he said.

The zone will provide an opportunity for Iraqi industries to benefit from exemptions and the advantages of Jordan’s free trade agreements with several countries, the official underlined.

It enables Iraq to penetrate markets with a total population of more than 1 billion people, he said.

An Iraqi delegation, including public and private sector representatives, started a visit to Jordan this week to inspect the industrial facilities and companies that are eligible to benefit from the Iraqi government’s decision to exempt a number of Jordanian commodities from customs duties, Barmawi stated.

“The delegation started visiting several factories, especially those wishing to export to Iraq... to check their capacities and scope of production,” he said.

“This is an important step for these factories to benefit from Iraq’s decision to exempt more than 300 Jordanian commodities of customs duties and fees,” said Barmawi.

In February, Jordan and Iraq signed several deals to boost cooperation in various arenas, including energy and trade.

Commodities to be exempted under Iraq’s decision include plastic industries, pharmaceuticals, detergents, chemical materials and food products.

The exemptions are in line with the Jordanian-Iraqi free trade agreement, which was signed in 2009.

Jordanian Prime Minister Omar Razzaz visited Iraq, presiding over a vast ministerial delegation in December, and met with the Iraqi president, prime minister and members of the Iraqi Cabinet.

Razzaz then said that the trade agreement between the two countries could serve as a catalyst for boosting trade with neighbouring Iraq.

Jordan’s exports to Iraq rose by 26.7 per cent in 2018 to JD465.9 million compared with JD367.7 million in 2017, according to figures by the Department of Statistics.

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