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Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)

King: Free Trade Agreement with the U.S , a Vote of Confidence on Jordan's Success
Amman, 11 December 2002

His Majesty King Abdullah II affirmed that the Free Trade Agreement between Jordan and the United States,which came into effect a year ago " is a vote of confidence in Jordan's success as a model of achievement and excellence."

The agreement "both reflects and contributes to the strength and success of our model of democracy, peace and equal opportunity," said King Abdullah during a digital video conference on the U.S.-Jordan FTA organized by Jordan Investment Board in cooperation with Industry and Trade Ministry and with the participation of leading businessmen and investors from Washington, Cairo, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Dubai and Manama.

"The U.S.-Jordan FTA transcends economic issues. It also sends a strong message about the solidity of our partnership, now and for the future, said the King noting that this international gathering indicates the great reach of Jordan's partnership with the U.S., and the promise that it offers to business and capital investors.

King Abdullah said in the past few years, "Jordan has made great strides towards becoming a full player in all that the global economy has to offer." " We are members of the World Trade Organization. We have a strong Association Agreement with Europe, and we were the first Arab country to sign a free trade agreement with the U.S, the King added.

He told the gathering that U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell would on Thursday announce a new, U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative. "Jordan and the U.S. have been working on this together, as full partners. It is an important initiative, and it is a measure of the close friendship and positive future we both see in fact," King Abdullah said.

During the past three years, Jordan's exports to the U.S market rose by 213% reaching this year $400 m. and was able to attract $100 million in investment that offered 10,000 jobs.

Jordan was the first Arab country to sign FTA with the U.S and the fourth in world countries after Canada, Mexico and Israel.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick stressed the importance, his country attached to the FTA with Jordan to highlight the close economic and political relations between the two countries.

Zoellick was speaking from Washington where he heads his country's delegation to the Joint Jordanian-U.S. Committee meeting opened Wednesday to review effective means to go ahead with the agreement.

He expected that Jordan's exports to the U.S. would increase by 15% this year. He also hoped the three-day talks bringing together Jordanian and U.S. businessmen would bring about more investment ventures.