Jordan Begins Imposing Tariffs on Turkish Goods

Jordan Begins Imposing Tariffs on Turkish Goods

Wednesday, 9 January, 2019 - 08:30
A general view of the downtown area of the Jordanian capital near the Grand Husseini mosque in Amman in this January 21, 2014. (Reuters)
Amman - Mohammed al-Daameh
Jordanian customs authorities began imposing tariffs on Turkish goods after the extension period of the free trade agreement (FTA) between Amman and Ankara ended earlier this year, said the Jordanian Customs Department.

Last year, the Jordanian government announced the termination of the agreement with Turkey on November 22, and it granted traders until the end of 2018 to dispose their imported goods before that date.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Customs Department said it would impose customs tariffs ranging between 15 and 30 percent on Turkish goods depending on the product.

In 2009, the two countries signed a free trade agreement which entered into effect on March 1, 2011. Most agricultural goods and products were excluded from the agreement and some were subject to quotas.

Recent official figures show that Jordanian exports to Turkey declined by 15 percent to reach $72 million in the first 10 months of last year, instead of $85 million in the same period in 2017. There was also a rise in the value of Jordanian imports from Turkey during the first ten months of last year by 4.12 percent to reach $637 million, compared with $566 million for the same period in 2017.

Jordanian Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz visited Ankara on December 26 and met with Turkish officials to discuss enhancing economic cooperation. Turkish officials asked for increasing the imports of Jordanian goods, especially phosphate, potash and fertilizer, to help Amman’s economy confront challenges.

Even though the government terminated the agreement, it was willing to continue talks with Turkish authorities, provided that their proposals achieve justice and protect the national industry.

Joint committees have been formed to discuss and improve the agreement, but have not been able to come up with new criteria that take into account Jordan’s economic interest.

Proposals of the previous government focused on further discussing "negative lists" that include products that have not been negotiated. This also meant excluding industrial products from the agreement to give them the necessary protection and adopt the "simplified" European rules of origin currently applied between Jordan and the European Union.

The suggestions also include the adoption of technical assistance that has not been implemented by Turkey since the establishment of the agreement.

Industrial parties deemed the decision to terminate the agreement and impose duties on imports, a victory for the local industry and step towards increasing the competitiveness of national products in the local market.

The trade sector, however, refused the termination of the agreement, stressing that this would damage its interests with Turkish companies.

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