By John Lee.

Jordan and Iraq have reportedly started studies to create a joint free industrial zone on their shared border.

A Jordanian government official told Xinhua that an Iraqi delegation visited Jordan this week to check the capacity of factories that will benefit from a decision by Iraq to exempt commodities — including plastics, pharmaceuticals, detergents, chemical materials and food products — from custom duties.

It is expected that the new free-zone will create allow Iraqi businesses to benefit from exemptions and advantages under free trade agreements that Jordan has signed with several countries.

It will also help to increase Jordanian exports to Iraq, which rose by 26.7 percent in 2018 to 465.9 million Jordanian dinars (3.9 million U.S. dollars).

(Source: Xinhua)

KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani received Jordanian Minister of Industry, Trade, and Supply Dr. Tariq al-Hammouri, Jordanian Ambassador to Iraq Montaser Oklah, Consul General of The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the Kurdistan Region Haitham Abu Alfoul, and their accompanying delegation.

Minister al-Hammouri highlighted historical relations between the Kurdistan Region and Jordan and expressed willingness to further strengthen and develop these relations, particularly in the fields of trade and banking. He also conveyed the support of His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan and his government to the Kurdistan Region.

Prime Minister Barzani thanked His Majesty King Abdullah II for his support to the Kurdistan Region during difficult periods, and expressed the willingness of the Kurdistan Region to strengthen relations with Jordan, particularly in the economic field. He hoped that Jordanian businessmen would take advantage of investment opportunities in the Kurdistan Region.

The post ISIS situation in the region and the crisis of displaced persons in the Kurdistan Region and refugees in Jordan were also discussed.

They also stressed the eradication of terrorism through coordination among the countries of the region and the international community.

(Source: KRG)

By Mustafa Saadoun for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

 Baghdad defends advantages of Iraq-Jordan agreement from critics

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and his Jordanian counterpart, Omar al-Razza, signed 14 economic agreements Feb. 2 between the two countries, during their meetings on the Iraqi-Jordan border, where a joint industrial city will be established.

The agreements include the transport, trade, health, agriculture, finance and energy sectors.

The recent economic agreements between the Iraqi and Jordanian governments have raised controversy in Iraq, as some Iraqi political and economic institutions believe these understandings favor Jordan and harm Iraq. The Asaib Ahl al-Haq (League of the Righteous), headed by Qais Khazali, said “the Iraqi citizens will pay the tax of these agreements.

As with most other issues in Iraq, these agreements divided Iraqi political camps into two. One was welcoming, and the other denounced the agreements as having no economic feasibility for Iraq — especially those related to extending a pipeline from Iraq’s oil-rich government of Basra to Aqaba.

Click here to read the full story.

By Mustafa Saadoun for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Economic treaty between Iraq, Jordan stirs Iraqis’ discontent

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and his Jordanian counterpart, Omar al-Razza, signed 14 economic agreements Feb. 2 between the two countries, during their meetings on the Iraqi-Jordan border, where a joint industrial city will be established.

The agreements include the transport, trade, health, agriculture, finance and energy sectors.

The recent economic agreements between the Iraqi and Jordanian governments have raised controversy in Iraq, as some Iraqi political and economic institutions believe these understandings favor Jordan and harm Iraq. The Asaib Ahl al-Haq (League of the Righteous), headed by Qais Khazali, said “the Iraqi citizens will pay the tax of these agreements.”

Click here to read the full story.

By John Lee.

Jordan has reportedly agreed to buy 10,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Kirkuk crude oil from Iraq.

According to The Jordan Times, Jordan’s Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Hala Zawati (pictured), said the oil will be bought at a discount of $16 to Brent crude, to cover the difference of transport costs and deviations in specifications.

The supply will cover 7 percent of Jordan’s demand.

(Source: The Jordan Times)

By John Lee.

The Jordan Furniture Exporters and Manufacturers Association (JFEMA) has reportedly signed a memorandum of understanding to carry out furnishing and interior works projects in Iraq, with an estimated total value of $40 million.

According to the Jordan Times, the work will include a project to furnish the largest commercial mall in Baghdad, as well as the capital’s largest hotel and residential apartment projects.

(Source: Jordan Times)

By Osama Al Sharif for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Jordan’s King Abdullah’s one-day visit to Baghdad on Jan. 14 was hailed as “historic” by Iraqi President Barham Saleh. It was the first trip to Iraq by the Jordanian monarch in more than a decade, and it came less than a month after the kingdom’s prime minister, Omar Razzaz, paid a visit on Dec. 28 to the Iraqi capital to sign a number of economic agreements.

A royal court statement said the king noted the strong ties between the two countries, affirming that Jordan stands by Iraq as it seeks to safeguard its security and stability, and works to fulfill the aspirations of the Iraqi people toward further prosperity and progress.

It added that the two leaders “stressed the importance of bilateral agreements in the economic, trade, investment, energy, transport and construction sectors.”

Click here to read the full story.

By John Lee.

Business leaders in Jordan have reportedly welcomed increased access to Iraq’s $88.2-billion reconstruction efforts.

According to a report from Jordan Tmes, a recent agreement to grant Jordanian construction contractors equal status to their Iraqi peers was described as “a God-sent miracle” by engineer and board member of the Jordan Construction Contractors Association (JCCA) Abdel Haleem Bustanji.

It has only been two days since we signed the agreement, but I already received calls about the necessary papers. Contractors are thrilled to be working again,” he added.

Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi received King Abdullah II of Jordan in Baghdad on Monday, to discuss improving relations between the two countries.

More here.

(Sources: Jordan Tmes, Media office of the Prime Minister)

By John Lee.

King Abdullah II of Jordan arrives in Baghdad today on an official visit to Iraq for talks with President Barham Salih, and Prime Minister Adil Abd Al Mahdi and senior officials, with a view to strengthening bilateral relations and regional development.

According to a report from The Arab Weekly, the two countries are planning a border industrial zone with a possible 50,000 jobs. It would also facilitate exports of tax-exempted Jordanian goods to the Iraqi market.

In recent weeks, the two countries have agreed a series of measures to increase cooperation between the two countries, including a plan to finalize the framework agreement for the Iraqi-Jordanian pipeline which will run from Basra through Haditha to Aqaba in the first quarter of 2019.

They have also agreed to upgrade the al-Karamah – Terbil Border Crossing.

(Sources: Govt of Iraq, The Arab Weekly)

By John Lee.

Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi and Jordan’s Prime Minister Dr. Omar Razzaz have agreed a series of measures to increase cooperation between the two countries.

Following a meeting at the weekend, they announced that, among other steps, they will finalize the framework agreement for the Iraqi-Jordanian pipeline which will run from Basra through Haditha to Aqaba in the first quarter of 2019.

The full (unedited) list of measures outlined in their joint statement is shown below:

In the transport sector:

  • Opening the Jordanian-Iraqi border crossings (Al Karama-Trebil) in front of the (door to door) traffic to start the journey of goods that are perishable on 2-2-2019 and include all types of goods thereafter.
  • Granting facilities for imported Iraqi goods via Aqaba, whose final destination is Iraq, a discount of 75% of the fees charged by Aqaba Economic Authority.
  • Make an Agreement between the Royal Jordanian and Iraqi Aviation for mutual cooperation in various fields: (Code share).
  • Training and cooperation in all areas of aviation and air transport.

In the industry and trade sector:

  • Activating the Iraqi Cabinet decision for the year 2017 exempting a number of Jordanian goods from customs starting from 2-2-2019.
  • The two councils of the two countries decided to allocate the agreed land on the Iraqi-Jordanian border to reach a depth of 2 km on the two sides of the border and a length of 6 km for the Iraqi-Jordanian Company. By 2-2-2019, in preparation for the company’s presentation of the industrial zone to the private sector for operation and management on the basis of BOT.

In the financial sector:

  • Forming a technical and financial legal committee between the two sides to develop solutions to the outstanding financial files between the two countries.

In the energy sector:

  • The agreement was reached on the Jordanian-Iraqi electricity link through the network of interconnection, where the memorandum of understanding was signed in the presence of the prime ministers, in which the parties agreed to take the necessary measures to accelerate the exchange of electrical energy between the two parties through direct electrical connection to the electricity networks of Iraq and Jordan.
  • It was agreed to finalize the framework agreement for the Iraqi-Jordanian pipeline which will extend from Basra through Haditha to Aqaba in the first quarter of 2019
  • It was agreed that the technical committees will arrive to determine the details of transportation and pricing for the export of Iraqi crude oil to Jordan before 2-2-2019.

In the agriculture sector:

  • Training in the fields of optimal use of water in the fields of aquaculture, water harvesting, seed propagation, biological control, the use of environmentally friendly pesticides and the training of Iraqi environmental police.

In the communications and IT sector:

  • It was agreed to pass the Iraqi Internet capacity from Jordan in 2019 to support Iraq build the infrastructure.
  • It was agreed on transport Jordan’s experiences in the field of the financial technology to brothers in Iraq.

(Source: Media Office of the Iraqi Prime Minister)