Better Work lauds trade agreement between Jordan and the EU

20 Jul 2016

20 July 2016

Amman – The Better Work Program, a partnership between the United Nation’s International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, welcomed the agreement signed on July 20, 2016 in Amman between the Government of Jordan and the European Union that will immediately allow Jordan to export products to Europe tariff free for a ten-year time span.

Simplifying the rules of origin that Jordanian exporters use in their trade with the EU, will boost investment and create jobs for locals, and also for thousands of Syrian refugees that the country is hosting.

Commenting on the agreement, Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice- President of the European Commission, said that Jordan, with its outstanding political engagement in the region, is a “key partner” of the European Union.

“As EU, we delivered in our promise to stand by the Jordanian leadership and people: Jordan will see an increase of investments and creation of more jobs for Jordanians as well as for Syrian refugees,” Mogherini said.

EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said that this agreement will expand the preferential access to the EU market that Jordan already enjoys, making European markets even more accessible for Jordanian exports.

Meanwhile, ILO has been closely working with the EU delegation, Jordan’s government and the national stakeholders throughout the agreement’s negotiations by offering its expertise in the country.

Dan Rees, Program Director for the Better Work program said the measure will prove an important step for Jordanians and the country’s economy.

“Better Work is ready to work with the national stakeholders to help encourage new investment in the country and create more and better jobs for Jordanians and Syrian refugees. We will expand our programme in the garment sector and stand ready to adapt our services to the needs of new economic sectors through cooperation with industry partners, ” Rees said.

The new scheme will apply to 52 product groups and be available to producers in 18 specified industrial areas and development zones. At the outset, Syrian refugees are anticipated to make up 15% of the workforce, increasing to 25% over three years.

Jordan’s Prime Minister Hani Mulki said this agreement is one of the key outputs agreed to at the Supporting Syria and the Region conference in London earlier this year.  The agreement will benefit the industrial sector in the Kingdom and provide Jordanian manufacturers with an opportunity to improve their products, standards and specifications.

The country’s Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Imad Fakhoury, welcomed the newly inked agreement and said that simplified rules of origin are likely to attract local and foreign investments, open new markets and ensure a wider diversity of Jordanian exports.

He added that the new opportunity will compensate for the losses that the sector has incurred due to the closure of borders with turbulent neighbouring countries, especially Iraq and Syria.

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