- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 22, 2003

AMMAN, Jordan, Jan. 22 (UPI) — Iraq has overtaken the United States as Jordan's largest trading partner, Jordanian newspapers reported Wednesday.

Iraq accounted for 20.2 percent of the kingdom's total exports and 15.4 percent of its total imports during the first 11 months of last year. During the same period, the United States accounted for 18.5 percent of Jordan's total exports and 7.2 percent of its overall imports.

The figures came from Jordan's Industry and Trade Ministry.

The data show Jordan exported to Iraq about $398 million worth of goods and $364.5 million to the United States. The two countries account for 38.7 percent of Jordan's overall exports. But the ministry report also showed a 1.7 percent decrease in its exports to Iraq compared to the previous year, and a 6.5 percent rise in exports to the United States.

Jordan receives all its oil supplies from Iraq, with special permission from the U.N. Sanctions Committee at concessionary prices, while its exports include mostly dairy products, detergents, fruit and vegetables, cooking oil and paper.

The country's exports to the United States have been mostly table salt and garments, which are manufactured in so-called "Qualified Industrial Zones," which were financed by the United States as a reward for Jordan's signing of the peace treaty with Israel in 1994. The country is one of Washington's closest Arab allies.

Textile factories in the zones, where Israelis are required to be partners, manufacture clothes for the garment industries in the United States.

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