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31/08/2017 - 17:31hs

Jordan wishes to resume talks with Mercosur

Jordan ambassador Malek Twal visited the Arab Chamber and expressed his country’s desire to enter into an agreement with the South American bloc. He also talked about plans on holding a Brazil-Jordan economic forum in 2018 in Amman.

São Paulo – Jordan wants closer trade ties with Brazil and nearby countries and is working to resume talks for an agreement with the Mercosur, as well as to hold an economic forum for Brazilians and Jordanians in 2018.

Isaura Daniel/ANBA

Hannun and Twal: on behalf of trade

The information was given to ANBA this Thursday (31) by Jordan’s ambassador in Brazil, Malek Twal, who visited the headquarters of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce in São Paulo, where he met with the organization’s president, Rubens Hannun.

Mercosur and Jordan started negotiations for a free trade agreement around ten years ago, but the deal didn’t come to fruition. In the talks with the Arab Chamber’s president, the diplomat discussed the organization's participation in this process. According to ambassador Twal, some countries that made some observations on the agreement in the past have changed their political stances and this can open up a new path for the resumption of talks.

“In addition to an increase in trade, a free trade agreement gives the opportunity for entrepreneurs to come and find out new business and investment opportunities in South America countries, especially in the region’s largest country, which is Brazil,” he said.

He points out that today the bilateral trade concentrates in Brazilian exports to Jordan, which are basically made up of food products such as meats, poultry and juices. According to the diplomat, Jordan wishes to increase trade both ways and diversify it, with Brazilian sales from other sectors as well and value-added products.

A Brazil-Jordan economic forum should help the business sectors from both countries to start on this path. “I understand that this first phase is needed so entrepreneurs from Brazil and Jordan meet each other,” says Twal. The plan is for the meeting to take place in the second half of next year in Amman, Jordan’s capital.

Support to the forum will come from the Jordanian government, but the organization will be done by organizations from the local business sector. The Arab Chamber’s president should visit Jordan in September of this year and he will include the preparations for the meeting in his schedule. The trip was one of the topics of the talks between ambassador Twal and Hannun this Thursday.

The diplomat believes that the meeting between entrepreneurs at the forum will produce new ideas and reveal investment opportunities and places to be explored. Malek Twal believes that the majority of Brazilians think of the Kingdom of Jordan as only a 10-million-people country and, therefore, with strongly concentrated opportunities. However, he points out that Jordan can be a hub for the arrival of Brazilian products to Middle East markets that Brazil has little access to.

The diplomat sees opportunities for Brazilian investment in Jordan in sectors such as the production of potassium and phosphate, via joint ventures. At the same time, he believes that Jordan could invest in Brazil's agricultural sector as a way to ensure food security. “Unfortunately, Jordan imports the majority of the food it consumes.”

Growing country 

The ambassador says that Jordan’s economy is in good health and that in the last ten years the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) never grew less than 2%. Before the wars in the neighboring countries, the economy reached 6% growth, according to him. The diplomat underscores that the country was able to overcome this challenge and continued to grow. What allowed this to happen was political stability and the country’s safety. “Jordan is a safe, stable country, but I and all Jordanians wish for stability and peace to come back to the Middle East, because then the region will be able to expand again,” he said.

The ambassador visited the Arab Chamber also representing the Council of Arab Ambassadors in Brazil, on whose behalf he talked to Hannun about creating the Federation of the Arab Chambers in South America. The diplomat also points out that this is only an early idea.

Twal underscored that the Arab Chamber is Jordan’s main partner in Brazil. He defined the organization as an economic think tank and that it identifies potential trade partners from different sectors and presents investments opportunities to Jordan.

Malek Twal assumed the post of Jordan’s ambassador in Brazil three years ago. During his diplomatic career, he has already worked in Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Belgium. He is also a former secretary of Political Reforms in Jordan.

*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani

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