14 years after the signing of the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan, the fifth annual meeting of the Israel-Jordan Chamber of Commerce is being held in Beit Shean.

 Jordanian and Israeli businessmen attend Israel-Jordan Chamber of Commerce conference


Israeli ambassador to Jordan, Mr. Jacob Rosen (standing), greets Mr. Omar Nadif, Deputy Ambassador of Jordan in Israel (Photo: Yossef Abu Productions)

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson)

160 Israeli and Jordanian businessmen are participating in the fifth annual conference of the Israel-Jordan Chamber of Commerce, held on Monday, October 27 2008, in Beit Shean. For the first time, the conference, commemorating the 14th anniversary of the Israeli-Jordanian peace agreement, has a substantial increase in Jordanian participants.

The conference, conducted by the Israel-Jordan Chamber of Commerce, is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Jerusalem.

Ms. Yael Ravia Zadok, head of the MFA Bureau for Middle Eastern Economic Affairs, stated that "the conference represents the de facto peace, and proves the common interests of Jordanian and Israeli businessmen in trade and business cooperation. The MFA actively promotes the strengthening of ties between these two business communities, the diversification of mutual trading categories and the removal of various constraints."

Participants in the conference include Ambassador Jacob Rosen, Israeli Ambassador to Jordan, Mr. Alon Roth-Snir, Deputy Ambassador at the Israeli embassy in Jordan, Mr. Omar Nadif, Deputy Ambassador at the Jordanian embassy in Tel-Aviv, Dr. Lars Hansel, Director of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Israel, Mr. Gabby Bar, regional director of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, and Ambassador Ramiro Cibrian-Uzal, Head of the Delegation of the European Commission to Israel.

Mr. Erez Meltzer, President of the Israel-Jordan Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the participants to the fifth meeting. Ms. Merri Minuskin, Managing Director of the Chamber of Commerce and the driving force behind the conference, announced the imminent formation of a Jordan-Israel Chamber of Commerce, to be headed by one of the Jordanian businessmen participating in the business meeting. Ms. Minuskin referred to the Chamber’s intent to conduct the next conference in Jordan.

Various methods of Israeli-Jordanian-EU cooperation were discussed. Ambassador Cibrian-Uzal called on the parties to utilize the trilateral accumulation agreement to increase the potential of Jordanian-Israeli trade with European Union member states. The representative of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor mentioned the bilateral activities with the United States within the framework of the QIZ agreements (Jordanian Qualifying Industrial Zones), and reported on the visit of the Jordanian-Israeli delegation to the United States last July, aimed at broadening the possibilities of bilateral trade with the United States from 2010.

Ambassador Jacob Rosen, Israeli Ambassador to Jordan, noted the strategic importance of trade relations between Jordan and Israel and the activities of the embassy in this regard, which were instrumental in the removal of constraints and the promotion of trade between the two countries as well as with the European Union and the United States.

The Israeli-Jordanian QIZ significantly increased Israeli exports to Jordan, and Jordanian exports to the US: From 15 million dollars to 1.5 billion dollars in ten years. This is currently the central channel of trade relations between the two countries.

Israeli-Jordanian trade currently stands at over 300 million dollars. In 2007, Israeli exported goods valued at 251.5 million dollars to Jordan, an 84.4% increase from 2006 (Mainly paper products and textiles, electrical products and machines and jewelry). Jordanian exports to Israeli reached 54.2 million dollars, representing a 42% increase over the same period (Mainly chemical industrial products, textiles and agricultural produce).