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Jordan, Turkey to sign free trade deal before year end

The Jordan Times

Jordan, Turkey to sign free trade deal before year end

8 November 2009

AMMAN (JT) - Jordan and Turkey agreed on Saturday to sign a stalled Free Trade Agreement (FTA) before the end of the year.

The two sides also decided to reciprocally cancel visa fees, among other deals meant to boost bilateral ties, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported from Istanbul.

During talks between Prime Minister Nader Dahabi and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the two sides agreed to wrap up the FTA deal so that it goes into effect before the end of the year.

Petra said that the agreement was made possible by a Turkish decision to accept modifications requested by the Jordanian side, without elaborating on the nature of requests.

The FTA between the two countries has been on the table for years, but after several rounds of talks since 2002, there was still disagreement over issues related to customs, lists of exempted goods, rules of origin as well as rules related to bilateral protection.

The two sides also agreed that a joint “strategic council” will be meeting in Turkey and Jordan alternatively twice a year, and will be co-chaired by the two prime ministers.

Ministers representing both parties will meet before the end of the year to discuss matters related to the council, the agency reported.

Meanwhile, Dahabi and Erdogan discussed bilateral cooperation within a regional context in the fields of water, energy, railroads, electricity interconnectivity and natural gas.

Turkey is already part of regional megaprojects such as the Egyptian gas pipeline that is planned to pass through Turkey to Europe.

On regional politics, the two sides saw eye to eye on Mideast peace, with the Turkish side voicing support for Jordan’s position on Jerusalem. Amman is drumming up international support to stop Israeli unilateral measures in East Jerusalem aimed at distorting the Arab Islamic identity of the holy city, including continuous settlement activity, eviction of Palestinian families and aggression on Muslim and Christian holy sites.

Both sides renewed support for the Palestinians in their pursuit of national rights, especially a sovereign state.

Dahabi is in Istanbul to participate in the economic summit of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organisation of Islamic Conference, which will convene on Monday. At the summit, Dahabi will deliver Jordan’s address in which he will emphasise the importance of economic and commercial cooperation among OIC member states, according to Petra.