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USTR and Jordan Hold FTA Joint Committee Meeting

December 18, 2009

Washington, D.C. - On Tuesday, December 15, 2009, representatives of the United States and the Government of Jordan convened a meeting of the Joint Committee of the U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Christopher Wilson, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Europe and the Middle East, led a U.S. delegation that included representatives from the Departments of Commerce, Agriculture, Labor and State.

At the Joint Committee meeting, officials discussed economic conditions in both countries, reviewed advances in bilateral trade and investment since the FTA entered into force, and discussed the development of bilateral cooperation in areas including: general economic cooperation, investment, agriculture, innovation, IPR protection and enforcement, customs issues, environmental and labor issues, and capacity building. Both governments acknowledged the progress and collaborative work that has taken place since the last meeting of the Joint Committee in Washington in October 2008. The two sides also reviewed the past year's activities under the Plan of Action from the last meeting of the Joint Committee in Washington in October 2008. As part of that discussion, officials committed to explore ways to intensify joint work on environment, labor and other issues. Jordan agreed to include the United States in consultations on its environment law and proposed amendments and arranged for a set of outreach sessions on the margins of the meeting with key environmental stakeholders.

The FTA contributes significantly to the strong bilateral relations between the United States and Jordan. The two sides agreed to continue their work to strengthen cooperation in trade, investment and other economic issues. Both delegations also acknowledged the importance of engaging their respective private sectors, particularly small to medium-sized enterprises, to take advantage of the FTA.

The U.S.-Jordan commercial relationship has developed significantly since the U.S.-Jordan FTA entered into force in December 2001. Since that time, there have been substantial increases in bilateral trade - overall trade in goods between the United States and Jordan increased 430 percent between 2001 and 2008 to $2.1 billion. The United States exports to Jordan are dominated by sales of vehicles, machinery and aircraft whereas imports are predominantly textile goods. While bilateral trade has declined slightly in the last two years due to global economic conditions, both the United States and Jordan are hopeful that the multi-year positive trend will soon return.