The United States and Jordan continue to maintain a strong economic partnership. A key element of this relationship is the United States-Jordan Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which entered into force on December 17, 2001, and eliminated duties on January 1, 2010.
This FTA further benefits from Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZs) established by Congress in 1996. The QIZ program allows products with a specified amount of Israeli content to enter the United States duty free if manufactured in Jordan, Egypt, or the West Bank and Gaza. U.S. goods exports to Jordan were an estimated $1.5 billion in 2019, down 6.8 percent from 2018. QIZ products account for about one percent of Jordanian exports to the United States. The QIZ share of these exports is declining relative to the share of exports shipped to the United States under provisions of the FTA.
At the Joint Committee’s most recent meeting, in July 2019, the United States pressed Jordan to: (1) eliminate the ban on U.S. genetically modified food products, and followed through on their commitment in March 2020; (2) rely on international, instead of EU; standards for manufactured and industrial products; and (3) to continue to protect geographical indications (GI) through a trademark system instead of adopting EU GI barriers. Jordan also agreed to host a consultative meeting of the FTA sub-committee. Barriers in government procurement remain a concern. The FTA does not contain government procurement commitments, and Jordan is not a party to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement.
USTR continued to monitor labor rights in Jordan pursuant to labor provisions of the FTA and to work with Jordan in the area of labor standards. USTR and Jordan have previously recognized serious labor concerns in Jordan’s garment factories, including anti-union discrimination against foreign workers, poor conditions of accommodations for foreign workers, and gender discrimination and harassment. To address these concerns, in 2013, the United States and Jordan developed the Implementation Plan Related to Working and Living Conditions of Workers in Jordan. Pursuant to its commitments under the Implementation Plan, Jordan has improved the coordination of inspections in garment factory dormitories and continued those improvements in 2019 through additional technical support.
Jordan also passed several amendments to the Labor Law in May 2019, including provisions that made discrimination in wages between men and women illegal, created flex-time to increase female workforce participation, expanded requirements for employer-provided daycare centers, and granted three days of parental leave a year, among other changes. The United States continues to monitor changes in practice from these amendments.
During the year, the Jordanian Ministry of Labor (MOL) also finalized and issued a directive, incorporating input from social stakeholders, to combat sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace. The United States continued to urge the MOL to complete two remaining directives included in the Implementation Plan related to enforcement of laws securing union access to workers in QIZs and preventing anti-union firings.
The MOL continues to work with the United States Department of Labor (DOL) funded International Labor Organization (ILO) Better Work program to improve the understanding of internationally recognized labor standards and the process for conducting audits in the garment sector. Jordan also worked with Better Work to ensure that factory-level audits are made publicly available and, in 2019, worked to reinforce long-term capacity improvements by seconding 17 of its 160 labor inspectors to the Better Work program.
Additionally, in 2019, DOL expanded an existing train-the-trainers program for MOL officials and social stakeholders to improve mediation and collective bargaining techniques and best practices. DOL also continued to fund the ILO in 2019 to build central and regional government capacity to identify and address child labor.
Jordan Trade & Investment Summary
U.S. goods and services trade with Jordan totaled an estimated $6.3 billion in 2022. Exports were $2.4 billion; imports were $3.9 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with Jordan was $1.6 billion in 2022.
U.S. goods exports to Jordan in 2022 were $1.6 billion, up 31.3 percent ($377 million) from 2021 but down 11 percent from 2012. U.S. goods imports from Jordan totaled $3.0 billion in 2022, up 11.0 percent ($301 million) from 2021, and up 163 percent from 2012. The U.S. goods trade deficit with Jordan was $1.5 billion in 2022, a 4.9 percent decrease ($76 million) over 2021.
U.S. exports of services to Jordan were an estimated $775 million in 2022, 20.0 percent ($129 million) more than 2021, and 4 percent greater than 2012 levels. U.S. imports of services from Jordan were an estimated $877 million in 2022, 49.7 percent ($291 million) more than 2021, and 77 percent greater than 2012 levels. Leading services exports from the U.S. to Jordan were in the travel, financial services, and professional and management services sectors. The United States had a services trade deficit of an estimated $102 million with Jordan in 2022, down 270.0 percent from 2021.
U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Jordan (stock) was $190 million in 2022.