Jordan Times | 23 October 2008
Jordan, Argentina discuss FTA
AMMAN (JT) — His Majesty King Abdullah and Argentinean President Cristina Kirchner on Wednesday discussed prospects for a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries.
They said that Jordan’s framework deal with MERCOSUR, a regional trade agreement between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, paves way for the FTA with Argentina.
During talks in Buenos Aires, His Majesty underlined a genuine opportunity for both countries to increase trade volume and investment cooperation in vital sectors such as mining, pharmaceuticals and food industries.
In the presence of the King and Kirchner, officials from the two sides signed agreements designed to boost cooperation in the fields of technology, trade and economy, culture and agriculture.
Kirchner welcomed a plan to hold Jordan Investment Forum in Buenos Aires on October 27. A similar event was organised by the Jordan Investment Board in Chile on Tuesday during the first leg of the King’s Latin American tour.
The president commended the progress Jordan has made in various fields, saying such developments provide proper base to develop bilateral ties.
The trade balance between the two countries is totally in favour of Argentina, which exported last year goods worth $67 million, while its imports from the Kingdom stood at $1 million. The trade volume declined in the first seven months of this year to stand at less than $30 million, including $29 million of Jordanian imports from Argentina.
The King briefed the Argentinean president on efforts under way to reach a peaceful comprehensive solution to the Middle East conflict, which ensures the Palestinians’ right to an independent state, in accordance with the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative and international resolutions.
He also pointed to Amman Message, the 2004 document Jordan issued to clarify the true spirit of orthodox Islam and its moderate approach to other human cultures, explaining that the faith rejects violence and extremism and promotes tolerance.
His Majesty, who is accompanied in the two-day visit to Argentina by Her Majesty Queen Rania and Their Royal Highnesses Prince Hamzah and Prince Rashid, visited the tomb of Argentina liberator José de San Martín (1778 -1850).
In an interview with the Argentinean daily Clarin, published on Monday, King Abdullah said the opportunity is now available for South-South cooperation, particularly between Latin American countries and the Middle East.
He said Jordan seeks to bolster these relations in the fields of culture and commerce, urging better ties between Jordan’s private and public sector institutions and their counterparts in Latin America.
The King is due to visit Brazil today in the last leg of the tour, which was supposed to include Costa Rica, Honduras and Cuba. The visits to these three countries were put off due to the King’s “domestic engagements”.
The Monarch is accompanied by a business delegation that will also take part in a Jordanian Investment Forum in Brasilia.