Jordan celebrates 20th anniversary of the Jordan-US Free Trade Agreement

The American Chamber of Commerce in Jordan (AmCham-Jordan) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington D.C. organize an online session to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement and look ahead to the future of U.S.-Jordan business, as the first of a series of activities to be carried out in 2021 to strengthen private sector engagement in trade and investment fields.  
The high level session brought together from the Jordanian side the Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply and Jordan’s Ambassador in Washington, and from the U.S. side the U.S. Department of State Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs and the U.S. Ambassador in Amman. It was attended by over 250 government officials and business representatives from the United States and Jordan. 
The discussions revolved around the special economic partnership between the two countries, highlighting the positive impacts of the Free Trade Agreement in cementing business relations since the agreement's entry into force on December 17, 2001.
The event also highlighted the measures that the public and private sectors can take together to unlock the potential of bilateral and regional trade, and investment aimed to support Jordan’s recovery process after the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.  
Eng. Mohammed Bataineh, Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Jordan, welcomed the participants and audience.  He called attention to the central role that chambers of commerce and business associations play in translating the public sector’s efforts to create preferential trade opportunities into real competitive advantages for companies. He noted that only through working together can we achieve the vision of His Majesty Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein of inclusive economic growth.
Myron Brilliant, the Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, moderated a discussion between the two Ambassadors. Brilliant introduced the session by emphasizing Jordan’s role as a critical ally for the United States and that with the help of the U.S. government and private sector, Jordan can play a central role in regional economic developments and help the country advance economic prosperity for its people. He noted that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is committed to work with AmCham-Jordan to help the country meet the challenges of this difficult time.  
Ambassador Kawar noted in her remarks that Jordan and the U.S. have a strong friendship and deep-rooted relations at all levels and that Jordan is keen to expand the economic ties, which are critical for job creation, improving the living standards, and enhancing women's participation. The Ambassador added that the Embassy in Washington, D.C. has been active in reaching out to various U.S. states to connect with international companies and look for ways to capture opportunities within the states themselves, as well as work hand in hand with leading business representatives and organizations, such as AmCham-Jordan and the U.S. Chamber in Washington. 
During the discussion, Ambassador Wooster highlighted the importance of the Free Trade Agreement: "The U.S.-Jordanian Free Trade Agreement is a testament to the special relationship between our two countries.  The United States has free trade agreements with only 20 countries, and Jordan is one of them.  The FTA is a powerful tool with untapped potential to spur economic growth and prosperity for both our nations.  We must work together to find ways to maximize the potential the FTA offers." 
Following the Ambassadors' remarks, Ministry of Industry Trade and Supply H.E. Maha Ali noted that the signing of the Jordan-U.S. FTA in 2000 further consolidated the special ties between the two partners. Since then, the Agreement expanded two-way trade by over 800% in Jordan’s favor, attracted investments and spurred the development of value-added sectors and companies. Adding that the FTA continues to offer business opportunities for both countries. Ali also highlighted the importance of U.S. technical support to Jordan. Emphasizing Government’s commitment to improving government services and offer opportunities for private sector to grow. While focusing on assisting the companies to overcome current challenges. 
David Schenker, Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs, U.S. Department of State closed the program by emphasizing the potential for the FTA: “When coupled with progress on economic reforms, the U.S.-Jordanian Free Trade Agreement and improved business climate can unleash economic integration and bring stability to the region. It is worth exploring how countries with FTAs in the Middle East can come together to create regional supply chains and regional markets that will attract investment while at the same time protecting the economies of the region from destabilizing shocks.”  
American Chamber of Commerce in Jordan
19 December 2020