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Press/174
11 April 2000
Jordan becomes 136th member of the WTO

Jordan today [11 April 2000] becomes the 136th member of the WTO. The WTO's General Council concluded negotiations with Jordan and approved the accession package on 17 December 1999.

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"This is truly a historical moment for Jordan, as we have long aspired to become a member of the WTO," said Dr. M. Halaiqah, Chief Negotiator and Secretary General of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Jordan at the General Council meeting. "This is a turning-point in the continued development of the Jordanian economy."

Mr. K. Kesavapany (Singapore), Chairman of the WTO's working party on Jordan, noted that Jordan's accession was testimony to the fact that the accession procedures under the WTO do work rapidly and smoothly given the determination of the acceding government to push ahead and the cooperation and flexibility of Members.

Jordan has agreed to assume all its WTO obligations upon accession. In addition, it has signed on to the two plurilateral agreements on government procurement and on trade in civil aircraft. Jordan's accession package includes market-access commitments on goods and services. The working party on Jordan's accession to the GATT/WTO was established under the GATT in January 1994 and was transformed into a WTO working party in 1995. The working party met for the first time in October 1996 and held a total of five formal meetings.

Jordan's main merchandise exports include phosphate and potash, and chemicals. Jordan mainly imports transport equipment, machinery and crude oil. Its major trading partners are other Arab countries and the European Union (see tables below).

Six countries in the region are already members of the WTO: Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Three are in the process of acceding to the WTO: Lebanon, the Sultanate of Oman and Saudi Arabia.

Overall, 30 governments are currently negotiating to join the WTO: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, People's Republic of China, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kazakstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lithuania, Moldova, Nepal, Oman, Russian Federation, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Sudan, Chinese Taipei, Tonga, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu and Vietnam.

Georgia has finished its accession negotiations and is currently in the process of ratifying its accession protocol.

All documents concerning the accession of Jordan are available on the WTO website under "Documents on-line". As document symbol, type in: WT/ACC/JOR*.

  Jordan: Imports by commodities, 1999        
  (Million dollars)        
    Value   Share in total imports
           

1

Transport equipment and spareparts

520

 

13.9

 

2

Electrical and non-electrical machinery

494

 

13.2

 

3

Crude oil

316

 

8.4

 

4

Medical and pharmacy products

142

 

3.8

 

5

Iron and steel

137

 

3.7

 

6

Textiles

113

 

3.0

 

7

Fruits, vegetables and nuts

78

 

2.1

 

8

Paper and cardboard

74

 

2.0

 

9

Plastic materials

73

 

1.9

 

10

Clothing and footwear

71

 

1.9

 
           
  Total of above 10

2018

 

53.8

 
  Total

3750

 

100.0

 
  Jordan: Geographic distribution of imports, 1999      
  (Million dollars)        
   

Value

  Share in total imports
           

1

European Union

1140

 

30.4

 

2

Iraq

419

 

11.2

 

3

United States

363

 

9.7

 

4

Japan

240

 

6.4

 

5

Korea, Rep. of

166

 

4.4

 

6

Saudi Arabia

151

 

4.0

 

7

China

115

 

3.1

 

8

Turkey

77

 

2.1

 

9

Switzerland

66

 

1.8

 

10

Argentina

62

 

1.7

 
           
  Total of above

2800

 

74.7

 
  Total

3750

 

100.0

 
           
  Memo        
  European Union

1140

 

30.4

 
  Germany

354

 

9.4

 
  United Kingdom

176

 

4.7

 
  Italy

149

 

4.0

 
  France

134

 

3.6

 
  Netherlands

69

 

1.8

 
           
           
  Source: Secretariat estimates based on partial national figures