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Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)

King Affirms Jordan's Determination to Continue Economic and Administrative Reforms
Amman, 20 January 2003

Under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II and UAE Vice-President Sheikh Maktoum Ben Rashid Al Maktoum, deliberations of the Forum of "Investment Climate in Jordan" began in Dubai on Monday.

In a keynote addressed he delivered in the presence of The Crown Prince of Dubai and the Defence Minister Sheikh Mohammad Ben Rashid Al Maktoum and Chief of the Hashemite Royal Court Fayez Tarawneh, His Majesty affirmed Jor dan's determination to continue the policy of economic and administrative reforms that have been adopted over the past years.

The King said during the forum which is being attended by UAE businessmen from the public and private sectors in addition to Jordanian and foreign businessmen, that the privatization process which the government has adopted contributed in enhancing the ability of the national economy to absorb private investment and attract foreign investments into the Kingdom.

"Our major goal is to concentrate on the future of Jordanians, improve their standards of living and invest in their education, habilitation and training," King Abdullah said, noting that Jordan would invest $500 million to develop education over the next five years.

His Majesty reviewed accomplishments that have been achieved in the economic sector after the economic and administrative reforms that were implemented in the past years, noting that the rate of economic growth in Jordan exceeded 5 per cent last year while exports have risen by 15 per cent in the same year. He also said that reserves of the Central Bank reached $3.5 billion.

King Abdullah Urged UAE and foreign investors to benefit from export privileges provided by Jordan through the Free Trade Agreement with the US, the Jordan-Euro Association Agreement, the Greater Arab Free trade Zone, the World trade Organization, the Qualified Industrial Zones and the Aqaba Special Economic Zone.

His Majesty expressed pride in Jordanian-UAE ties, noting that coordination is continuous between the leaderships of the two countries in the various fields. He expressed confidence in the future, noting that Jordan provides all facilities to investors to ensure the success of their investments due to its belief that the fulfillment of the goals of investors is the best mean to achieve sustainable development.

Meanwhile, His Majesty met with members of the Young Businessmen Organization during which he spoke of cooperation between Jordan and Dubai in the economic field. He said that Jordan has qualified human resources that support the Jordanian economy. "We are serious to continue our plans to achieve sustainable economic growth, fight poverty and unemployment and achieve progress despite the regional and international circumstances," The King added, stressing the importance of achieving Arab economic integration.

The forum began its deliberations today with a speech by the "Abraj Capital Company" Aref Al Naqfi in which he welcomed His Majesty's patronage of the forum. He called on UAE businessmen to benefit from the investment opportunities in Jordan which came as a result of the continuous efforts of His Majesty King Abdullah II. " The investment privileges in Jordan provide important incentives for UAE investors," he said.

During the morning session, Minister of planning Basim Awadallah touched on the process of reform and modernization in the Jordanian economy during the nineties. He noted His Majesty's vision to achieve a sustainable economic growth, provide job opportunities and dignified life for citizens.

He also spoke of the experience of the Consultative Economic Council in building a genuine partnership between the public and private sectors and contributing in drawing and formulating reforms programs and policies.

The minister also reviewed the objectives of the socio-economic transformation programs as well as developmental programs and projects.

President of the Jordanian-US Business Association Ahmed Tantash for his part reviewed the Jordan-US Free Trade Association which paved the way for Jordanian exports to enter the US market. He pointed out that the value of Jordan's exports to the US increased after the signing of the agreement to reach $400 million in 2002.

Jordan's exports to the US currently forms 20 per cent of the total of its exports.

Head of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Akil Beltaji for his part reviewed privileges provided by the ASEZ. He said that the authority succeeded in attracting 994 corporations that expressed willingness to benefit from privileges provided by the authority.