‘Important to regional stability’: Israel and Jordanian trade ministers meet

November 4, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Israeli Economy Minister Orna Barbivai and Jordan’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply Yousef Al-Shamali met on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea on Wednesday, the first such meeting in a decade.

Israeli Economy Minister Orna Barbivai (R) and Jordan’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply Yousef Al-Shamali (Yossi Ipregan/GPO)

The two officials discussed a variety of ways to strengthen economic ties between the two countries, as “part of the effort to preserve the policy of warm peace and continue to deepen ties between the two countries.”

The ministers discussed the renewal of the trade agreement between the two countries, the mutual recognition of standardization, and the expansion of tourism.

The ministers also signed an agreement that is set to expand future caps on products that Jordan can export to the Palestinian Authority (PA).

“Israel recognizes the importance of economic cooperation with the Jordanian Kingdom as a strategic goal that is important to regional stability,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated.

Jordan official Petra News Agency reported that the meeting was “part of a relentless Jordanian effort to expand trade exchange with Palestine,” and was set in coordination with the Palestinian side.

The agreement is “part of a non-stop Jordanian-Palestinian governmental coordination to enhance bilateral cooperation in the field of trade and investments,” Al-Shamali stated.

The goods and products that are set to be exported from Jordan to the PA include cement and construction products, rugs, clothing, and electronic products.

The meeting and the signing of the agreement “highlight the ongoing efforts at enhancing civilian ties between Israel and Jordan, strengthening neighbourly relations, and promoting cooperation between the two countries,” the Foreign Ministry noted.

Israel “hopes that this agreement will lead to the strengthening of the Jordanian economy, and contribute to the Kingdom’s continued growth,” the statement said.

The agreement also “highlights the importance that Israel attaches to the promotion and development of economies in the region, as well as to the encouragement of regional trade.”

Barbivai stated that the trade benefits in the agreement “are an important dimension in the strengthening of diplomatic relations between the two countries.”

“Deepening civilian and economic ties contributes to bilateral relations, national security, and the protection of Israel’s longest and most quiet border,” she added.

The caps on products that Jordan can export to the PA are regulated through the Paris Protocol, which determines tax and trade ties between Israel and the PA, and delineates lists that enable the PA to establish import policies in terms of standardization, regulation, and taxation.

Israel’s diplomatic relations with Jordan have been tense for years. While Jordan officially remains committed to the peace agreement, relations are limited largely to behind-the-scenes security ties and some environmental cooperation.

The Jordanians overwhelmingly reject the peace agreement and any form of normalization with Israel.

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