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Canada signs trade deal with Jordan

Canwest News Service | June 28, 2009

Canada signs trade deal with Jordan

AMMAN, Jordan — Canada on Sunday signed a deal with Jordan that lifts tariffs on the vast majority of its exports as part of a push for increased trade with the Middle East.

Minister of International Trade Stockwell Day signed the free trade agreement at a ceremony with his counterpart, Jordan’s Minister of Industry and Trade, Amer Hadidi.

"Following the visit by King Abdullah II to Canada in July 2007, our countries have made significant progress in strengthening trade and investment," said Day in a statement released Sunday.

"Our efforts have led to the signature of four agreements that will help open doors for Canadian and Jordanian business."

Key Canadian sectors that will benefit from this immediate duty-free access include forestry, manufacturing, and agriculture and agri-food, said Day.

Jordan reopened its market to Canadian beef and cattle in February, and Day said the deal will give Canadian beef producers competitive advantages in a market the Canadian Beef Export Federation estimates to be worth $1 million.

Canadian exports to the region, mainly agri-food products, nearly doubled in recent years and topped $64 million in 2008. Imports from Jordan stood at $12.8 million, mainly apparel and agricultural goods.

Jordan was the first Arab country to sign a free-trade agreement with Washington, is a member of the WTO and has an association accord with the EU that paves the way for full lifting of tariffs and customs.

Western firms see the kingdom as a regional hub for wider business access to Iraq and neighbouring countries.

"The FIPA signed today will encourage two-way investment by providing investors with the clarity and certainty they need when investing in foreign markets," said Day.

In Jordan, resource extraction, nuclear energy, telecommunications, transportation and infrastructure offer Canadians investment opportunities, he said.

With a file from Reuters.

 source: Vancouver Sun