Jordan Times - 22/04/2007
Deliberations continuing with EU, Canada, Turkey on free trade, QIZs - Jordan
(MENAFN - Jordan Times) AMMAN � Several agreements are in the pipeline to accelerate Jordan’s free trade drive and maximise the advantages of Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZs), Industry and Trade Minister Salem Khazaaleh said on Saturday.
The minister told private sector stakeholders and representatives of the Jordanian and US governments, during an executive club lunch hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Jordan (AmCham-Jordan) that QIZ and free trade deliberations are under way with the European Union (EU), Canada and Turkey.
Because Turkey is geographically close and is highly industrialised, Khazaaleh indicated that the planned free trade accord with Ankara is subject to detailed scrutiny where items are being looked at in terms of specific numbers to ensure an acceptable equation that would alleviate any harm to local businesses.
According to the minister, the list of items seen as "negative" in a free trade agreement with Turkey has been narrowed from around 750 to 450 products.
"Sooner or later, free trade agreements will be realities throughout the world and no country can stand against the path of globalisation, liberalisation and economic openness," Khazaaleh said stressing that Jordanian businesses must be ready and well-prepared to confront international trade challenges.
In this regard, he underlined the importance of strengthening and expanding trade partnerships with various regions through preferential access of goods and services, the accumulation of rules of origin and removal of non-tariff barriers.
Khazaaleh highlighted the Jordan Authority for Enterprise Development as the body that ensures better coordination of private sector development policies and closer involvement of the private sector in the design and implementation of those policies.
Several questions were asked after the minister finished his presentations but some were either related to financial or labour issues.
Businessman Hassan Al Amad raised the issue of a "major taxpayers" category at the income and sales tax department
According to Maher Al Nasser, board member of the Social Security Corporation, 83 per cent of those who applied for pension salaries last year were in the "early retirement" category.