Jordan-Israel agreement to prepare for custom-exempted exports to EU
By Rami Abdelrahman
The Jordan Times 22 December 2004
AMMAN – Jordan will sign an agreement with Israel on Thursday to prepare for custom-exempted exports to the European Union (EU).
A government official who preferred anonymity said the agreement entails a one-third reduction of customs duties on imports from Israel, while customs on exports to Israel will be cut to half.
The official indicated that the agreement covers a two-way custom duty cuts that will gradually be applied until all duties are eliminated by 2010, the year when the EU-Mediterranean Free Trade Area takes place.
During the World Economic Forum Dead Sea 2004, which took place last May,both countries signed a memorandum of understanding on this particular subject. The customs reduction will take place in 2005, according to the official.
The agreement would allow industries in both countries to accumulate origins of product for export to the EU, similar to the Qualifying Industrial Zones Agreement between both parties and the US. This should provide a larger market
for already existing QIZs in Jordan, and would provide more opportunities for
foreign direct investment, the official said.
Jordan and Israel concluded last week the deliberations on the technical issues for signing this agreement. Jordan intends to send a request to the EU seeking a “QIZ-style” agreement between the three parties.
Industry and Trade Minister Ahmad Hindawi indicated last week that several European states, such as Britain and France, have expressed their willingness to support the agreement, describing the EU’s stand vis-a-vis the proposal as positive.
The approval by the EU will open the way for local goods and products to enter the EU markets, just as they enter the US market.
Despite differences in the technical details, the QIZ agreement signed with the US eliminates duties and commercial barriers to bilateral trade in goods and services between Jordan and the US.