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Jordanian and Chinese officials exchange ideas for boosting trade, investments
2004/10/17


Jordan and China on Wednesday agreed to expand their trade relations in various fields with the Chinese side expressing interest in more industrial investments in the Kingdom.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade Mohammad Halaiqa held talks with Chinese Deputy Commerce Minister Liao Xiaoqi, who was accompanied by large trade delegation, including representatives of Chinese companies that have entered into business with Jordan.

In presenting suggestions to bolster the Jordanian-Sino economic and commercial ties, Liao listed five recommendations to rectify the trade balance between the two sides, which is in China's favour.

Liao indicated that his country is interested to buy an additional 400,000 tonnes of potassium from the Kingdom, and suggested that Jordanian officials provide him with a list of other products with potential to be marketed in China's vast market.

For his part, Halaiqa said that Jordan wants to sell China an additional 100,000 tonnes of phosphates to make up for the imbalance, a suggestion that Beijing will study, the deputy minister said.

The minister said that Jordan is also interested in exporting pharmaceuticals to China and to market its tourism product in this Asian country so as to attract Chinese visitors to the Kingdom.

In response to a complaint by the Chinese side, Halaiqa said the Jordanian authorities would reconsider visa regulations for Chinese nationals. Liao pointed out that his people used to get a visa upon arrival at ports in Jordan, but now the Kingdom requires an Interior Ministry clearance before the visa is issued.

Both sides described Jordan's Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZs) as success stories, and urged Chinese businessmen to join their fellowmen who started garment and electronics factories in the QIZs.

Liao stressed that there are actually certain companies in China that plan to benefit from the incentives and the privileges offered by these zones which allow products manufactured in them to penetrate US markets at preferential terms.

The Chinese side also expressed interest in taking part in Jordan's infrastructure projects such as dams, bridges and electricity and called on Jordan to facilitate such participation.

Halaiqa welcomed such interest and mentioned the Disi water conveyance megaproject, the tender of which will be refloated after the failure in offering the project on a BOT basis.

The minister sought to benefit from China's expertise in oil shale, noting that Jordan has 40 billion tonnes of such source of energy in reserves.

The two sides also continue their cooperation in the field of human resources training which China offers to Jordan in various technical and administrative fields.

The Jordanian side complained about low quality Chinese products sold to Jordan and urged the Chinese trade authorities to place more control on exports' quality.

Halaiqa also cited a Chinese company, which pirated a Jordanian tissues brand. Liao said his ministry was aware of the issue and an investigation was under way in that regard.

The Chinese side brought up the issue of Jordan-Taiwan ties, citing allegations that Jordan seeks a free trade agreement with the latter.

Halaiqa denied this as baseless, stressing that Jordan only has commercial relations with Taipei that it wants to protect but with no intention to establish any political ties.

Prime Minister Faisal Fayez also met with Liao and the accompanying delegates and discussed bilateral ties and ways to bolster them.

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