Turkey and Jordan Iron Out Disagreements over Trade Deal

On April 1st, Jordan said it was reconsidering its decision to discontinue its free trade deal with Turkey if it agrees to certain conditions.

Jordan had previously said it would discontinue the unequal free trade deal beginning in September, unless both countries can iron out their differences. Jordan’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supply said the decision was required to halt further harmful effects on its industrial sector in light of unequal competition.

A Turkish diplomat told Al-Monitor that there are 3 areas that they are working on, which includes increasing the extent of Turkish investments in Jordan, leveling the balance of trade between both countries, and simplifying the rules of the free trade deal.

Official in Ankara said that in the past, Turkey has said that it is willing to consider those very proposals. There is good motive to be optimistic, as the Deputy Prime Minister and State Minister for economic affairs of Jordan, Jafar Hassan met with Turkish members of the Jordanian-Turkish Business Council on March 20th so as to discuss further investment opportunities in Jordan. Turkey then said it was positive that the terms can be renegotiated.

Turkish exports to Jordan in 2016 stood at $710 million and Jordanian exports to Turkey stood at $102 million, according to data from the Ministry of Economy.

Jordan is said to have repeatedly warned Turkey about the trade imbalance.

Jordan and Turkey became closer after the provocative resolution late 2017 by the US to favor Israel’s claim on Jerusalem as its capital and to relocate the Embassy of the United States from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The two countries have also found ways to enhance relations, given the Syrian and Iraqi wars, the increasing number of refugees in the region and Turkey’s deep fears of isolation.

On February 27th, Al-Monitor reported that following several high-level visits between the two countries, Turkey had agreed to exempt 500 Jordanian goods from customs duties.

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