Jordan is interested in building solid economic and trade relations with East Africa and will put in place all that is required to forge closer cooperation, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply, Hatem Halawani, said on Sunday.
He also told an African economic delegation, currently visiting the Kingdom, that the public and private sectors had the prime task of stimulating the business community to exploit the available opportunities to launch ventures, promote trade and exchange expertise.
Expanding ties with Africa, he explained, is part of the Kingdom's policy of economic openness and trade liberalisation it had pursued over the past years, which saw the signing of a whole slew of free trade agreements at the bilateral and multilateral levels. Notable among these, he pointed out, was joining the World Trade Organisation, the Greater Arab Free Trade Agreement (GAFTA), and the Jordan-US Free Trade Agreement.
The minister said that those accords had impacted the Jordanian economy significantly, with national exports jumping to JD3.93 billion during the first eight months of this year, posting a seven per cent rise from the previous year.
He also briefed the African team about economic reform milestones the Kingdom had achieved, including the passage of new investment legislation, creating an investor-friendly environment and diversifying business opportunities by launching developmental areas.
Halawani said the Kingdom will open talks with Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia for signing free trade agreements with them, adding that he had already written to his counterparts in the three nations to that end.