The National | 3 May 2021
UK-Jordan trade agreement to drive growth in investment
by Sarmad Khan
A UK-Jordan trade agreement came into effect at the start of this month, preserving preferential trade for Jordanian and British businesses and consumers, while boosting commerce and investment between the two countries.
Under the deal, the UK said it would prioritise growth, foreign direct investment and job creation into Jordan as part of the 2019 London trade initiative.
“We are working with the Jordanian government to overcome some of the structural issues that prevent greater FDI into Jordan. We are supporting and promoting Jordan’s public-private partnership unit’s work and the national infrastructure projects that were prioritised by the government of Jordan,” the British embassy in Amman and Jordan’s Department for International Trade said in a joint statement.
“As we celebrate 100 years of UK-Jordan friendship … [the] new UK-Jordan trade agreement is an important step forward for our countries which will provide a boost to British and Jordanian businesses,” James Cleverly, the UK’s Minister for Middle East and North Africa, said.
The UK-Jordan Association Agreement reaffirms the interest of both Jordan and the UK to strengthen their “longstanding trade and economic relationship”, the statement said.
The agreement was signed in November 2019 and Jordan issued a royal decree for its implementation in February this year. It received approval from the UK parliament on March 24 and became effective on May 1.
The total trade of goods and services between the UK and Jordan reached £561 million ($777.4m) in 2020, but this is expected to grow with the new pact in place.
Britain’s major exports to Jordan include industrial machinery, mechanical power generators, vehicles, medicinal and pharmaceutical products. UK imports from Jordan include mechanical power generators, vegetables, metal ores and clothing.
The two countries already had agreements and partnerships in place across sectors including education, aviation, retail, biometrics and technology.
Since leaving the EU last year, the UK is looking to deepen ties with its trade partners in other parts of the world.
Trade talks between the US and the UK, the world’s biggest and fifth-biggest economies, respectively, have been held up by an ongoing trade dispute between the US, UK and EU over subsidies to rival aircraft makers Boeing and Airbus. However, the US and UK agreed a ’mini-deal’ last month removing US sanctions on some UK exports including some categories of food and drink as well as cashmere wool.
Progress is also being made between the UK and a number of Middle East nations. In March, the UK and the UAE signed a £1 billion agreement for joint investments in Britain’s life sciences industry under the Sovereign Investment Partnership.
The UK expects to sign multibillion-pound investment deals with the UAE in other areas such as technology, clean energy and infrastructure as the two nations look to deepen trade and investment ties, Simon Penney, British trade commissioner for the Middle East told The National last week.
The country is also laying the groundwork for a free trade agreement with the six-member economic bloc of GCC. Last month, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss met officials in the UAE and Riyadh to discuss future trading arrangements between the UK and GCC, Mr Penney said.
Last week, Lord Edward Lister, a former Downing Street chief of staff, said unprecedented developments in forging trade links with the GCC were coming as the UK has taken formal steps for a trade agreement with Gulf Arab countries.