Trade union opposition for the Jordanian- Israeli trade agreement
Jordan-Israel, Economics, 12/24/2004
The Jordanian vocational trade unions have expressed their rejection of the trade and economic exchange agreement signed yesterday between Jordan and Israel. Some 100 persons organized a sit-in at the headquarters of the vocational trade unions headquarters.
The participants in the sit-in deplored the agreement and raised slogans under the titles "areas for exploiting the Jordanian workers," and areas "of killing national industries." In a statement, the trade unions expressed denunciation over signing the agreement saying "at a time when Zionist and American massacres against our people are increasing in Iraq and Palestine and their threats to Syria, Lebanon and Sudan reached its peak, the government of Jordan signs with the country of usurp and terrorism the qualified areas agreement, which constitutes a support for Sharon in slaughtering our people."
The Jordanian King Abdullah II received the Israeli minister of industry and trade Ehud Olmert before signing the agreement.
Olmert told journalists that he is carrying several messages to the King noting that "all issues pertaining to diplomatic relations and representation at the ambassadorial level are dealt with effectively." Jordan did not appoint an ambassador for it in Tel Aviv since summoning on its ambassador in protest of the over use of the Israeli forces in oppressing the Palestinian Intifada by the end of September 2000 despite the fact that there is an ambassador for Israel in Jordan.
The agreement aims at enhancing the opportunities of exporting products to the European markers, tax free, in a step that supports cooperation between Amman and Tel Aviv.
The Jordanian minister of industry and trade Ahmad al-Hindawi announced in a press conference after signing the agreement with his Israeli counterpart Ehud Olmert that the agreement will raise the level of trade relations between the two sides to an advanced level.
Al-Handawi explained the increase of exports volume from his country to the American markets from $ 9 million in 1995 for imports of $ 350 million to exports at a volume of $ 650 million and imports of $ 450 million. This gives Jordan the first surplus in its trade with the USA.
The Israeli minister described the agreement as the first of its kind with an Arab state so far, noting that it represents a huge step that prepares for signing a greater comprehensive agreement with Jordan in 2010.
The agreement states to exempt 60% of the total Israeli exports to Jordan from customs, up from the previous level of 10%.
Worthy mentioning that Amman and Tel Aviv signed an agreement on May 16 allowing the deployments of goods produced by joint industrial areas to the European markets. The new agreement completes its previous one signed on the sideline of the world economic forum.