Singapore, Jordan sign free trade pact
By Irene Ang, Channelnewsasia.com
17 May 2004
SINGAPORE: Singapore and Jordan have signed a free trade agreement and a bilateral investment treaty.
The FTA is Singapore’s first with a country in the Middle East and Jordan’s first with a country in Asia.
The two agreements cover a broad range of economic activities, which will facilitate the flow of goods, services and investments between the two countries and beyond.
The deals were signed on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Jordan on Sunday.
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Trade and Industry Raymond Lim signed the deals on Singapore’s behalf.
The signing comes more than two weeks after negotiators from both sides ended the talks on April 29 after five rounds of negotiations that lasted nearly a year.
In reply to media queries, Mr Lim said: "This agreement is a milestone in our relationship with Jordan and our engagement of the Middle East. What we have built is a virtual superhighway. Our private sector is encouraged to travel on it - to leverage on the FTA and the good relationship between the two countries and explore new opportunities in Jordan and the rest of the Middle East."
Under the free trade accord, Jordan will eliminate duties on 97.5 percent of all goods of Singapore origin within 10 years from the entry into force of the FTA.
Jordan will also give Singapore services suppliers preferential access in the areas of R&D, advertising, convention and services incidental to manufacturing.
In return, Singapore will remove all duties for Jordanian products entering the country.
The two sides also agreed to liberalise their services sectors beyond their commitments to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The two deals form part of a broader framework on Closer Economic Partnership between Singapore and Jordan, which also includes a technical support agreement signed last October and Memorandum of Understanding in cultural and tourism cooperation signed during the official visit of Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong to Jordan in February this year.