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Jordan - Trade and Diplomatic relations with the EU

Jordan enjoys good political and economic relations with the EU. Industrial exports from Jordan already have had duty-free access to the EU under the Cooperation Agreement of 1978.

However since 1997 relations between and the EU have entered a new phase under a number of new agreements. The agreements mentioned below elevate the status of the relationship between the two entities to a higher economic and political level. The agreements are:  

The European Neighbourhood Policy

  According to the EU, the goals of this agreement are " to share the benefits of the EU's 2004 enlargement with neighbouring countries in strengthening stability, security and well-being for all concerned " .

The agreement covers 12 Mediterranean countries, including Jordan, and each country will develop its own action plan with the EU regarding issues such as:

•  political dialog and reform

•  trade and measures preparing partners for gradually obtaining a stake in the EU's Internal Market

•  justice and home affairs

as well as other issues such as energy, transport, information society, environment and research and innovation.

In terms of execution of the European Neighbourhood policy, the following two agreements have been drafted and agreed between the EU and Jordan:

Euro-Mediterranean Partnership

The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership agreement covers the regional relationship of Jordan with the EU under the general auspices of the European Neighbourhood policy.

This partnership was launched at the Barcelona conference in 1995 and consists of all 27 EU members plus the 10 Mediterranean partners, which includes Jordan.  

According to the EU's draft agreement, the main principles of the agreement cover the following goals:

•  Establishment of a common Euro-Mediterranean area of peace and stability based on fundamental principles including respect for human rights and democracy (political and security partnership).

•  Create an area of shared prosperity through the progressive establishment of a free-trade area between the EU and its Partners and among the Mediterranean Partners themselves (economic and financial partnership).

•  Develop human resources; promote understanding between cultures and rapprochement of the peoples in the Euro-Mediterranean region as well as to develop free and flourishing civil societies (social, cultural and human partnership)

As a result of this agreement the EU has come to rely on the good offices of the Jordanian government with various governments in the region as part of its efforts to resolve the current Israeli - Palestinian conflict. The EU has also taken advantage of Jordan's historically close relations with Iraq as means of supplying aid to the country and also as a gateway to establish contact with various Iraqi political and economic organisations operating outside Iraq's borders.

Furthermore Jordan's economic relationship and participation in the regional economic agreements is manifested in the Agadir agreement   which is a free trade agreement between Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan. It is expected that this agreement could become an important foundation for boosting commerce between southern Mediterranean countries     

As well as taking advantage of the economic and political agreements with the EU, Jordan has also been the recipient of important financial assistance from the EU, with schemes such as:

•  40 million Euro EJADA programme to assist small and medium industries.

•  During 2002-2004, euro 142 million in grants are available for new operations.

•  new programme in Aqaba to help ASEZA in trade facilitation, as well as in the environmental and tourism fields.

The EU-Jordan Association Agreement

This agreement covers the bilateral relationship between the EU and Jordan under the general auspices of the European Neighbourhood policy.

The Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement with Jordan was signed on November 24, 1997 and entered into force on May 1, 2002.

Goals and functionalities:

•  The main aim of the Association Agreement is to create a free trade area between the EU and Jordan over a period of 12 years, and help increase economic growth for the businesses community.

•  provides a comprehensive framework for the economic, political and social dimensions to the EU-Jordan partnership agreement

The creations of the Free Trade zone will require alignment of policies and regulations and upgrading of administrations between Jordan and the EU in all areas concerned. It must be noted that removal of tariffs will be a gradual process as means of protecting the interests of Jordanian exporters as well as the interests of the EU. As a result studies are carried out regarding the impact of trade liberalisation prior to the agreement of time tables for the removal of tariffs.

By: Meir Javedanfar- www.meepas.com