Jordan state policy and improving conditions to boost manufacturing and international trade

 

The manufacturing, mining, quarrying and construction sectors continue to be pillars of Jordan’s economy, collectively accounting for around one-fifth of GDP in 2016. In recent years stable figures have been achieved despite adverse regional events, including war, border closures, population displacement and global market softening. This continued expansion and development is a testament to the resilience and strength of local entrepreneurs, workers and policymakers, whose positive reputation continues to grow throughout the MENA region.

As the relaxed rules of origin (ROO) agreement with the EU began to affect more businesses in 2017, the sector anticipated increasing growth. The border crossing with Iraq officially reopened in late August that year after two years of closure, and there is hope that the situation in Syria could begin to stabilise. Rebuilding the region after years of conflict is a goal both in Jordan and beyond, with important benefits for the kingdom’s businesses.

Challenges remain in boosting commerce, however, with companies facing high input costs, particularly in terms of energy. Transport is also relatively expensive for exporters and domestic business alike, with many companies also pushing for the streamlining of government procedures.

Regional Landscape 

In 2016 Jordan’s economic growth continued to slow. This was the second subsequent year of deceleration following deteriorating regional security in 2014. In 2016 real GDP growth stood at 2%, and was projected to accelerate slightly to 2.2% in 2017, according to the Ministry of Finance. The Department of Statistics (DoS) released a report showing that GDP growth accelerated slightly year-on-year (y-o-y) to 2.03% in the first three quarters of 2017. Over that period the industrial sector grew by 1.1% and accounted for 16% of GDP.

The closure of the Iraqi border point in 2015 due to ISIS activity contributed to slower growth. This followed the shutdown of the Syrian frontier after the outbreak of hostilities in 2011. The decision to close these trades routes, while necessary, directly affected the Jordanian economy. Syria and Iraq have long been key trading partners of the kingdom, and Jordan is also an important transit route for global goods heading into Iraq and Syria, supplying their domestic markets or being shipped on further to Lebanon, Turkey, Iran and Russia.

In August 2017 Jordan officially reopened the main border crossing with Iraq after more than two years of closure, which was anticipated to provide a boost to the economy and trade. According to the IMF, before the border shutdown Iraq accounted for nearly one-fifth of domestic exports, worth approximately $1.2bn per year.

Industry players remain optimistic in this environment. “Despite the economic slowdown, investors are showing increasing interest towards Jordan,” Jalal Al Debei, CEO of Jordan Industrial Estates Company, told OBG. “Then it’s the role of industrial estates and free zones to provide the necessary tailored solutions in order to meet their needs.”

Oil Price Effects 

As an energy importer with no significant hydrocarbons resources, Jordan experienced the decline in global oil and gas prices over the 2014-16 period as a mixed blessing. Lower energy prices have reduced the import bill, yet the economic downturn that these low prices have caused elsewhere in the region – particularly in GCC countries – has negatively affected foreign direct investment inflows as well as remittances from the many Jordanians working throughout the Gulf. Demand for workers, investment and trade in those neighbouring countries has also declined as they push to build their local economies, further affecting the kingdom. However, the uptick in global oil prices that began in 2017 will likely have a positive impact on the economy in the coming months.

Meanwhile, conflicts in neighbouring countries have caused a substantial inflow of displaced people to Jordan, with the UN High Commission for Refugees registering 659,593 Syrian refugees in the country in June 2017. There were also 63,074 registered Iraqi refugees at that time, with a total “population of concern” of 736,396. The true number may be higher, however: government estimates suggest there may be 1.3m Syrian refugees in the country, with 90% living outside refugee camps, often in challenging conditions in the major cities. The UN estimates that 93% of these people are living below the poverty line, having long since spent whatever savings they brought with them.

As a result, the domestic market is weighted with a large number of low-income or no-income refugees, in part supported by the government and international organisations. This is potentially contributing to the rising level of unemployment, which increased from 12.6% in 2013 to 18.5% in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to the Economic Policy Council (EPC). The Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) estimated the total population at 10.1m people at the end of 2017, up from 8.1m in 2013.

The majority of the population lives in the north of the country, in the Greater Amman area and nearby cities. This has implications for industry as the greatest concentration of people are distant from the only international sea port, Aqaba, pushing up transport costs for imported goods – particularly as the border with Syria remains closed and the route with Iraq was only officially reopened in August 2017. Crossing into Palestinian and Israeli territory also remains problematic, leaving Saudi Arabia as the only other land import-export route.

MITS 

The leading government agency in the sector is the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supply (MITS). Operating under a 1998 law, it is responsible for regulation and monitoring, while also preparing studies and policy recommendations. The MITS contains a number of agencies, including the Industrial Development Directorate (IDD), which, in cooperation with the National Committee for Industrial Development, works on the formulation and implementation of national industrial policy. The IDD looks at a wide range of areas, such as small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) development, foreign trade strategies and regulations, quality management and performance adoption, the issuance of export licences, and partnerships for the Qualified Industrial Zones (see analysis).

The MITS also oversees the Foreign Trade Policy Directorate, which manages the kingdom’s bilateral and multilateral trade agreements. Jordan has penned a range of these, with 58 non-Arab countries and the EU listed by the directorate as having some kind of trade agreement with Jordan. These include free trade agreements (FTAs) with the US, Canada, Turkey, Singapore, European Free Trade Association countries and the European Free Trade Area; the EU Association Agreement that covers all 28 EU member states; investment promotion and protection agreements with countries such as Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and a number of non-double taxation treaties with countries across the globe. Jordan is a founding member of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area and a signatory to the Agadir Agreement, which helped solidify trade relations between the EU and four Arab countries.

The MITS is looking to widen its portfolio of trade agreements to bring Jordanian products to a greater number of markets. As Syria and Iraq were effectively closed to trade, the MITS has been looking to expand in various African markets, and has undertaken five studies in cooperation with the US Agency for International Development, exploring opportunities in Eritrea, Kenya, South Africa, Côte d’Ivoire and Ethiopia. The ministry is hopeful that these countries hold potential for Jordanian exporters.

Other Sector Bodies 

A range of other ministries also have a role to play in industrial policy development and implementation, such as the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, the Ministry of Public Works and Housing, the Ministry of Labour, and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources. Company registration and monitoring is the responsibility of the Companies Control Department, an independent body associated with the MITS.

The department is on the board of the Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation, which has a mandate to support the creation of new enterprises and growth of SMEs. Private and public sector representatives sit on the board, including those from the Jordan Chamber of Industry (JCI), the Jordan Chamber of Commerce (JCC), the Amman Chamber of Industry, the Amman Chamber of Commerce and the Zarqa Chamber of Industry.

In Figures 

CBJ statistics showed 2455 companies in the industrial sector in 2016, excluding construction firms, with a combined capital of JD42.1m ($59.4m). The number of firms was substantially up on 2015, when 1891 companies were registered in the sector, albeit with greater combined capital of JD49.1m ($69.3m). According to Adnan Abu Ragheb, president of the JCI, the sector employs some 240,000 people working at 18,000 industrial facilities. Local media reported that industry has the highest employment rate per facility of any sector, making it a notable area for further job generation.

The DoS also compiles the kingdom’s Industrial Production Quantity Index, with a baseline of 100 in 2010. The index had risen to 108.8 by 2012 before the events of 2014. The level of production fell to 100 in 2015 and to 97.9 in 2016. It continued to decrease in 2017, reaching 97.2 for the year, largely due to a 2.4% dip in manufacturing production.

Certain segments have performed better than others. Mining and quarrying and their related industries, for example, averaged 121.1 points in 2017, compared to 106.9 points in 2016. One of the top-performing segments was clothing manufacture, posting an index figure of 307.6 for 2017, down slightly from 328.2 the previous year. Tobacco products, textiles, leather and related goods, wood products, rubber and plastic products, and furniture all scored over 100 in the index, despite the difficulties of the last few years.

GDP Contribution

According to data from the DoS, which includes all industry under the label “manufacturing”, this sector contributed JD1.91bn ($2.69bn) in constant prices to the country’s GDP in 2016 – up slightly from JD1.89bn ($2.67bn) in 2015. In the first three quarters of 2017 the sector continued to grow moderately, contributing JD1.42bn ($2bn) to real GDP, up from JD1.4bn ($1.97bn) in the same period of 2016. This translated to 1.1% y-o-y growth, while overall GDP outpaced this, at 2.03%.

The domestic manufacturing sector covers a wide range of activities, from furniture to formaldehyde. Industrial products include petroleum products, clinker, chemical acids and fertilisers, which saw mixed relative output in 2017. Some 2.6m tonnes of petroleum products were produced that year, down from 2.79m tonnes in 2016, while clinker production fell from 574,500 to 543,000 tonnes. Chemical acids increased from 1.08m tonnes in 2016 to 1.31m in 2017 and fertiliser output grew from 547,500 to 695,400 tonnes. While cement is another key industrial product, the CBJ does not offer production figures. After being negatively affected by the softening of global commodity prices and the downturn in the regional economy in 2016, some segments appear to have recovered in 2017. According to the World Bank, 17.8% of employed people worked in the industrial sector in 2017.

“The region’s estimated production capacity is double current demand levels, so we hope that more stability in neighbouring countries, such as Iraq and Syria, will help restore growth in the medium term,” Suliman Malhas, general manager of Northern Cement Company, told OBG.

Mining & Quarrying 

At the same time, mining and quarrying contributed some JD166m ($234.2m) to GDP at constant prices in 2016, down from JD188.9m ($266.5m) in 2015, as global commodity prices continued to soften. However, the segment posted JD134.2m ($189.3m) in the first three quarters of 2017, up from JD115.8m ($57.6m) in the same period one year prior and roughly equivalent to the JD135.8m ($191.6m) recorded in the first three quarters of 2015, suggesting potential recovery.

In Jordan mining and quarrying is dominated by phosphate and potash production, which are highly dependent on the global agriculture sector, as they are both used in fertiliser production. The kingdom was fifth in the world for phosphate output, supplying some 8.3m tonnes in 2016, and ranked eighth globally in terms of potash production, at 2m tonnes, or around 3% of global production. These rates continued to increase in 2017: the country produced 8.67m tonnes of phosphate and 2.32m tonnes of potash in the year. Global potash production sank about 6% in 2016, with agricultural prices generally flat. This had an effect on planting decisions, with deliveries falling significantly in the first half of 2016, although demand grew as the year went on.

The International Fertiliser Association forecast strong demand for 2017, as global inventories were low and demand continued in Africa and Asia. “Demand for fertilisers has been growing steadily in different markets, and developing in other markets, such as Eastern Africa, which led to an expansion of our potassium nitrate fertiliser production by 25% in Aqaba during the last quarter of 2017,” Bassam Al Zoumot, general manager of Kemapco, told OBG. Figures from the DoS for 2017 confirm this trend: the value of Jordanian fertiliser exports increased by 21.7% over 2016 figures. “We definitely see growth in exports to certain markets in East Africa and South-east Asia, where there has been an upswing in fertiliser consumption to keep up with growing populations,” Brent E Heimann, president and CEO of the Arab Potash Company (APC), told OBG.

Major Players 

Two companies control the potash and phosphate trades – APC and Jordan Phosphate Mines Company (JPMC). The former has several subsidiaries: Jordan Magnesia Company, the Numeira Mixed Salts and Mud Company, and Jordan Dead Sea Industries. APC is in a 50:50 joint venture (JV) with Kemira Agro Oy of Finland for business with Arab Fertilisers and Chemicals Industries, and with Albemale Holdings of the US for management of the Jordan Bromine Company – the kingdom’s sole producer of bromine and bromine products.

JPMC, meanwhile, had three major mines in production in 2016 at Al Hassa, Al Abiad and Eshidiya, with the three producing a total of 7.99m tonnes of dry phosphate that year, down from 8.33m tonnes in 2015. JPEC also operates an industrial fertiliser complex at Aqaba, which turned out 396,180 tonnes of diammonium phosphate fertiliser (up from 344,000 tonnes in 2015), some 228,450 tonnes of phosphoric acid (down from 238,000) and 738,397 tonnes of sulphuric acid (down from 779,616). The company has three subsidiaries – Indo-Jordan Chemicals, Nippon Jordan Fertiliser Company and the Al Rua’ya Land Transportation Company – and six JVs in the fertiliser and chemicals segment. JPMC has a major logistics arm, and transported some 1.33m tonnes of phosphate by railway to Aqaba on a dedicated line in 2016, while 6.57m tonnes were transported by road.

Exports 

As evidenced by its high score in the Industrial Production Quantity Index, textiles and apparel are significant segments that largely target external markets. Clothing accounted for some JD1.11bn ($1.6bn) in exports in 2017, up from JD1bn ($1.4bn) in 2016 and JD979m ($1.38bn) in 2015. This was out of a total JD4.47bn ($6.3bn) in exports – up from JD4.4bn ($6.2bn) in 2016 – making apparel the second-largest export market, after chemicals and chemical products, at JD1.5bn ($2.1bn). These two segments were the largest export items in the manufacturing sector by far, with other categories such as machinery and transport equipment recording JD171.3m ($241.7m), paper and cardboard at JD108m ($152.4m) and plastic products at JD128m ($180.6m).

There are also key developments in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), food and agricultural products segments. According to the “Skills for Trade and Economic Development” report from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), there were around 4000 companies employing some 35,000 workers in this market in 2015. SMEs make up 96% of these, mainly serving as baked goods or dairy product suppliers. Jordan also has major food-processing companies, with distributors such as the Petra Group, and manufacturers such as Al Nabil. The latter, which has the Carlyle Group as a minority stakeholder, produces pastries, juices, and frozen and chilled meat products, all of which meet halal standards. Another market leader is Kasih, which produces canned and packaged products, ranging from pre-prepared meals to tomato paste. A third key player is Al Durra, manufacturing canned, bottled and packaged FMCGs, including spices, sauces and jams, with over 350 products in its inventory.

Al Durra was originally based in Syria, but moved to Jordan following the outbreak of the conflict, with its factory in the Irbid Free Zone also supplying many of its products to Syrians in other countries. Indeed, FMCGs are a significant export business for Jordan. According to the ILO, between 2003 and 2013 the export value of Jordanian processed food products rose 2.6 times. The main drivers of growth over this period were prepared consumer foods and meats, as well as non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, and dairy products, led by cheese and condensed milk.

However, DoS figures show that this market slowed in terms of external trade in 2017: the kingdom exported some JD174m ($245m) in processed food products that year, down from JD187m ($264m) in 2016. Trade receipts of the larger FMCG segment reflected this trend; the value of exports fell from JD276m ($389m) in 2016 to JD262m ($370m) in 2017.

The segment faces challenges, including the highly cost-competitive nature of the domestic market, which contains many small manufacturers. Cutting prices is one strategy, but this affects margins that may have been strained by the additional transport costs of exports due to the Iraqi border closure and other regional political disputes, such as the June 2017 economic embargo on Qatar. There is also a push to increase efficiency and automation, which would drive down costs for companies that have the means to invest in these types of technologies.

Trade Partners 

Some of the main trading partners in recent years have been countries in the Greater Arab Free Trade Area, with Saudi Arabia generally receiving around one-third of all Jordanian exports to these states; nations in the North American Free Trade Agreement, of which the US accounts for between 80% and 90% of trade; and non-Arab Asian countries. The value of exports sent to these regions during 2017 were JD2bn ($2.8bn), JD1.16bn ($1.6bn) and JD809m ($1.1bn), respectively.

Economic Growth Plan 

In June 2016 the EPC was established to bring together a range of leaders in the private and public sectors under the chairmanship of King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein. Council members include the governor of the CBJ, the president of the Social Security Investment Fund, representatives from the JCI and the JCC, and the presidents of the House and Senate economic, financial and investment committees.

The EPC is also the author of the Jordan Economic Growth Plan (JEGP) 2018-22. This document aims to double GDP growth over the five-year period in spite of ongoing regional turbulence. This goal would prove difficult under any circumstances, but particularly so for a country with a debt-to-GDP ratio of around 95% – the reduction of which has been the subject of a series of IMF-backed programmes promoting fiscal austerity. As a result, the private sector plays a much larger role in the plan than it once did, with a target of $13.3bn of investment from private sources alongside $8.8bn in government projects and $894m worth of policy actions.

The plan aims for average annual GDP growth of 5% over the 2018-22 period, with manufacturing tasked with achieving 10% growth during these five years. The JEGP argues that the targets are feasible if the government supports companies in diversifying their exports to the US and helps key performers take full advantage of the relaxed ROO agreement with the EU. The plan also stresses the need to address various constraints on industry, such as the reliability of power and water, and access to finance. Furthermore, the document calls for a streamlining of business procedures and better integration of ICT into the industrial workplace.

Encouraging creativity and innovation is also stressed, with the role of the Jordan Economic Development Corporation focusing on the competitiveness and growth of SMEs. The plan supports the upgrading and development of 20 industrial SMEs per year between 2018 and 2022. New industrial incubators are to be established in the governorates of Al Balqa’a, Tafila and Aqaba, with entrepreneurship educational programmes in many other regions.

Rules of Origin 

An important part of the plan concerns improving quality, looking to move the sector towards higher-value-added “unique and interdependent industries”. This means identifying and supporting companies that manufacture products, enjoy relatively low international competition and play to Jordan’s competitive advantages. The July 2016 relaxation of the ROO agreement with the EU has given some impetus to this.

The ROO agreement stipulates that products may be traded in the EU under preferential conditions in certain circumstances, as outlined in Jordan’s Association Agreement with the bloc. The move to relax these conditions means that for the next 10 years, Jordanian exporters will be able to trade with the EU under preferential terms if production has taken place in one of 18 specific industrial zones and development areas, and if a minimum of 15% Syrian refugee labour was used on the production line. This minimum rate increases to 25% by the end of the third year. In addition, the origin of the materials used in production can be up to 70% non-local with the product still labelled as “Made in Jordan”.

The rules are partly in place to encourage the employment of refugees in Jordan. The kingdom had agreed to employ some 200,000 Syrians at the February 2016 London Donors Conference, at which a range of countries and international agencies pledged a total of $1.7bn to help Jordan handle the refugee crisis through 2018. Employment is expected to help bring refugees out of poverty.

The ROO agreement should allow more Jordanian companies to sell in Europe, while increasing European investment in Jordan. The EU maintains high standards for its imports, and the government is aware that certain Jordanian exports may have to cross a higher quality threshold. The JEGP pledges to provide industries with training to help them to meet EU guidelines by standardising classifications and definitions, adopting environmentally friendly policies, and establishing a model centre for packaging.

Energy Costs 

The JEGP aims to tackle one of the industrial sector’s perennial challenges – energy prices. These have been historically high, as Jordan possesses no domestic hydrocarbons resources and relies on imports of oil and natural gas from neighbouring countries. Following the interruption of gas imports from Egypt in 2012, the kingdom began phasing out fuel subsidies. That year the National Electric Power Company ran into debt because it had to import costly fuel oil to feed its power stations.

In 2015 the country opened its first liquefied natural gas terminal, cutting costs and accounting for around 82% of Jordan’s electricity generation. At the same time, global oil prices halved between 2014 and 2016, easing pressure on users. Mining and quarrying saw a 10.2% reduction in unit costs when tariffs were set for 2017, while other large industrial consumers expected reductions provided the price of oil remained below $55 per barrel.

Renewables 

The JEGP encourages industry to further rationalise electricity usage and advocates the increased consumption of renewable power. The country aimed to have 300 MW of green energy production awarded by the end of 2017, with a target of 20% – or 1600 MW – of total energy generation coming from renewable sources by 2020. In January 2018 the International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank Group, moved in support of these clean energy goals, providing the kingdom with a financing package of up to $188m for the 248-MW Baynouna solar facility. As Jordan’s geography is well suited for solar and wind power, capitalisation of these resources should lead to more energy savings.

Transport Costs 

Another major expense for industry is transport, particularly for exporters that used the Iraqi and Syrian border crossings. The 350-km distance between the port of Aqaba and Amman also adds costs to imported products. “We have lost three-quarters of our exports to Syria and 20% of our exports to Iraq,” Maher Al Mahrouq, director-general of the JCI, told OBG. “Some companies are trying to hold on to their business in Iraq, however, despite the costs. While it used to cost $1500 to send a container from Amman to Baghdad, now it is $5000.” During the border closure the route to Iraq was via Saudi Arabia and Kuwait by land or to Um Qasr by sea. Both journeys are significantly longer than the direct route via the main border, and the former required clearing three borders. These altered journeys had negative effects that permeated the sector. “Exporting is one of biggest challenges that Jordanian industry faces,” Ahmad Sallakh, CEO of Al Nabil Food Industries Company, told OBG. “Increasing costs to industry, which represents 25% of GDP, can endanger both margins and profitability of companies throughout the sector.”

King Abdullah II intervened in early June 2017 to announce transport as a national priority and give added impetus to infrastructure development plans (see Transport chapter). After much discussion and military action the Iraqi border crossing reopened in late August 2017. According to Reuters, Customs and border arrangements had been finalised and security measures were in place along the 550-km highway for goods to safely reach Baghdad.

However, many Jordanian businesses are still lobbying for reductions in Customs fees and taxes on their imports, which often make up a large portion of their inputs. There is a 20% Customs tax and a 16% sales tax, and some firms must pay both of these when they import key ingredients or parts.

Doing Business 

A specific target for the industrial sector outlined in the JEGP is the simplification of administrative and government procedures. A National Industrial Observatory will be established, along with an Executive Committee for Industrial Policy for monitoring and evaluation. The World Bank’s “Doing Business 2018” report placed Jordan at 103rd out of 190 countries, with the kingdom ranking 105th for starting a business and 110th for dealing with construction permits. The overall score was a notable improvement from its ranking of 118th in the 2017 report, with the best scores in getting electricity (40th), trading across borders (53rd) and registering property (72nd).

Jordan’s lowest-ranked category was getting credit, though this has notably improved over the previous report. The country placed 159th in this index, a 30-place jump from the 2017 report. This improvement largely came after the CBJ announced a raft of new financing measures approved by the World Bank in March 2017. These include a JD100m ($141.1m) programme too support export credits; a $100m entrepreneurship fund, aimed at start-ups and funded equally by the CBJ and World Bank; and a further JD50m ($70.5m) to guarantee the loans of SMEs after the current budget of JD50m ($70.5m) is utilised. A trade bank for investment and an Islamic investment company are also being set up, with combined capital of JD125m ($176.3m) to support job-creating, medium-sized companies.

Zones & Parks 

One of the most-important boosts to industry in recent decades has been the establishment of qualifying industrial zones (QIZs), beginning in the late 1990s. Companies located within these zones benefit from quota- and duty-free exports to the US provided that the products contained inputs from Jordan, Israel, Egypt, the Palestinian Territories and the US. The QIZ scheme was a great success, particularly for the garment sector (see analysis). However, with an FTA with the US, firms located all over Jordan can benefit from access to the US market without the same source stipulations.

Nonetheless, the QIZs remain important industrial centres. Other industrial parks have joined them, offering synergy through concentration, and lower utility and land prices. The primary parks are the Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein Industrial Estate, 12 km south-east of Amman; the Al Hassan Industrial Estate and QIZ in Irbid; the Al Hussein bin Abdullah II Industrial Estate at Al Karak; the Aqaba International Industrial Estate and QIZ; the Ma’an Industrial Estate; and the Al Muwaqar Industrial Estate.

These parks are governed by the Jordan Industrial Estates Company, which offers companies that locate within the zones a range of incentives, including exemption from taxes and fees on the fixed assets of a project, 100% foreign ownership, use of foreign labour, full repatriation of profits and capital, and no foreign equity restrictions.

The Aqaba Special Economic Zone also offers a variety of incentives to industrial firms – businesses locating in the area will benefit from a major logistics centre resulting from a project integrating the port, city, and industrial and commercial areas. “Air and land transport facilities from Aqaba have not improved as fast as activity in the area has increased,” Sharif Kamal, CEO of the National Real Estate Company, told OBG. “So, boosting infrastructure improvements has become essential in order to avoid congestion.” Aqaba is the only international sea port in Jordan, with further links set to be developed in the coming years (see Transport chapter).

Outlook

In the year ahead much depends on security across Iraq, Syria and the wider region. While 2017 saw some hope that conflicts in these countries may be nearing an end – or at least entering a new phase of negotiations – uncertainty is still an issue. The newly reopened border with Iraq could serve as a major stimulus for the sector, and any additional efforts at reconstruction there or in Syria would help Jordan expand trade and transit routes for the benefit of all states.

The remainder of 2018 is likely to see growth pick up and more efforts brought in to streamline the steps of doing business. Trade with the EU is also likely to increase, although smaller Jordanian businesses may need to re-engineer their products to adhere to EU standards if they are to take full advantage of these opportunities. At the same time, Jordanian businesses may find new outlets in Africa with the help and support of government agencies.

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