Jordanian manufacturers continue to make up a sizeable slice of the country’s GDP. According to the Central Bank, in the first three quarters of 2011 the manufacturing sector made up 20.3% of GDP, expanding by 4.1% on the same period in 2010. Despite the political unrest that overtook much of the Middle East in 2011, Jordanian exports proved surprisingly resilient, both within the region and further afield, and are being encouraged by free trade agreements (FTAs). A number of FTAs have come into effect in recent years, including one with the US, the kingdom’s primary clothing export market. Foreign investment may continue to be deterred by regional uncertainty, although the first two months of 2012 saw a notable increase in investor interest. Going forward, the phosphate and potash industries, as well as fertiliser manufacturers, look set to continue on a path of strong growth.
This chapter includes interviews with Hatem Halawani, Chairman of the Jordan Chamber of Industry; and Bashar Arafeh, Director and CEO at ePoints.