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Jordan-US Economic Relations

We thank the Congress and the Administration for supporting Jordan's progress and development.  I deeply value the partnership between our peoples.”

-- His Majesty King Abdullah II in his address to a Joint Session of Congress on

March 7, 2007

 

Jordan and the U.S. established diplomatic relations on January 31, 1949 and since then have enjoyed a dynamic economic relationship characterized by continuous cooperation and groundbreaking achievements. After more than six decades of growing partnership, Jordan became the first Arab country to sign a Free Trade Agreement with the U.S.  The U.S. currently ranks in Jordan’s top three trading partners, and joint-programs for economic development between both countries are now among the largest in the world.

Since the early years of Jordan–U.S. relations, both countries created a great number of joint economic programs as a means of strengthening their links and promoting economic growth and political stability in the region. The Jordan–U.S. partnership for economic development began in 1952 through President Truman’s Point IV Program. The program in Jordan later became what is now called the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Over the course of nearly 60 years, USAID has partnered with Jordan on a wide range of projects in areas of water conservation, healthcare, education and training, economic growth, and governance. USAID projects in Jordan represent the largest per-capita U.S. assistance program in the world.

As the Jordanian economy continued to grow, the Jordan–U.S. economic partnership developed stronger ties and economic interdependence. The 1990s witnessed the signing of a number of economic agreements between Jordan and the U.S. A pioneer of such agreements was the Jordan–U.S. Bilateral Commission, which held its first meeting in 1994 to improve trade between both countries. Trade accompanied investments and the signing of the Jordan–U.S. Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) in 1997 was a natural development in both countries’ growing economic ties. By the late 1990s, an economic framework between Jordan and the U.S. solidified and continues to this day to promote and protect reciprocal trade and investment.

The emergence of a strong framework for Jordan–U.S. trade and investment equipped both countries to take further advantage of their economic ties. One of the leading initiatives that further opened the Jordanian and U.S. economies to one another was the Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZs) agreement. The agreement grants products of the QIZs duty- and quota-free access to American markets (the first QIZ in Jordan was founded in 1998). Jordan currently boasts 13 QIZs with over 50 factories and several satellite locations around the country.

The establishment of the Jordan–U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in 2000 represents yet another milestone in this unique partnership. The Jordan–U.S. FTA is the third free trade agreement for the U.S. and its first with an Arab country. Trade rapidly increased between both countries as demonstrated by the fact that bilateral trade grew five-fold in ten years (currently exceeding $2 billion). The U.S. today ranks second in Jordan’s list of top export destinations and third in its list of top import sources. The Jordan–U.S. FTA also includes several provisions that promote intellectual property rights, environmental protection laws, labor rights, and electronic commerce. With its vast development and sustainable growth, the Jordan–U.S. economic relationship presents an ideal model for similar bilateral agreements in both regional and international contexts.

Recently, in May of 2011, His Majesty King Abdullah II visited US President Barak Obama.  At this meeting, the two leaders expressed their support for one another and, in exchange for King Abdullah’s promise of political and economic reforms in Jordan, Obama promised to send approximately USD 1 billion through OPIC, as well as 50,000 metric tons of wheat, to support such reforms.  This interaction demonstrates that, in the midst of a great deal of uncertainty in the Middle East due to the events of the Arab Spring, the relationship between the US and Jordan remains strong and will simply continue to grow.

To this day, several organizaitons actively work to foster and strengthen Jordan-U.S.economic ties.  The Jordanian Economic and Commerce Bureau (ECB) has operated since 1999, with the main objective of promoting investment and trade between Jordan and the U.S. In April 2010, the ECB, with the support of a number of partners organized the first Jordan-U.S. Investment and Trade Forum.  The Forum brought together more than 400 government dignitaries and business leaders from Jordan and the U.S. to explore the ample investment and trade opportunities in Jordan and to create additional economic partnerships that will continue to strengthen Jordan-U.S. relations.  The Forum also commemorated the 10th Anniversary of the signing of the Jordan-U.S. FTA, in addition to the 60th Anniversary of Jordan-U.S. relations, a partnership that continues to grow stronger to this day.

 

Additional Resources

Embassy of Jordan, Washington D.C.

Embassy of the United States, Jordan

Jordan Ministry of Industry and Trade

Jordan-US Free Trade Agreement

Jordan Trade and Investment Information System

Export.Gov Jordan Profile

Jordan USAID