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Jordan Seeks to attract more Gulf and Iraqi business

Jordan Seeks to attract more Gulf and Iraqi business

dpa German Press Agency
Published: Saturday November 11, 2006

Manama- Jordan is seeking to attract more business from the Gulf and Iraq, particularly in transportation, industry, and finance with an intensive marketing campaign promoting its Aqaba special economic zone, a top official said Saturday. At a Manama press conference, the president of Al Aqaba Chamber of Commerce, Nael Kabariti, said Jordan hoped to double the volume of imports passing through Jordan to Iraq.

At present more than 10 million tonnes of goods pass through Jordan to Iraq each year, making up a significant portion of Iraq's imports.

"But we are hoping to double these figure in the next few years," he said.

Kabariti added that Jordan aimed to make Aqaba into one of the key seaports serving the northern part of the Middle East and Gulf, allowing Jordan to take a bigger share of the transport market.

Jordan has joint ventures with Gulf partners and wholly owned Gulf ventures and these companies are also using the zone to export to Europe and the rest of the world, he pointed out.

Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) commissioner for economic development and investment affairs Saleh Keilani said that the ASEZA development plan, launched in 2001, was ahead of schedule.

He said the ASEZA had already achieved 130 per cent of the targets laid out in the 20-year development plan.

"We were able to attract 8 billion dollars in the first five and a half years of operations, which is more than the 6 billion dollars we were seeking to achieve in the first six years," Keilani said.

The lion's share of the 8 billion dollars investment in the Aqaba zone comes from the Gulf, with Saudi companies accounting for more than 80 per cent of the total.

Keilani added that Kuwaiti and UAE investors were also investing heavily, but they have failed so far to attract more Bahraini investments, which have invested heavily in other Jordanian projects.

The vice chairman of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ibrahim Mohammed Zainal, said bilateral trade between Jordan and Bahrain stood at 20.5 million dollars.

A Jordanian delegation from ASEZA, led by chief commissioner Nader Dahabi, is on a visit to Bahrain until November 14 to promote investment opportunities to Bahraini businessmen.

The marketing mission which is visiting Bahrain under the slogan "Aqaba: Turn Sand into Gold" has already visited Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, and Qatar. Oman and Yemen are to be visited in 2007.

2006 dpa German Press Agency



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