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Zu'bi Highlights Benefits of Free Trade Agreement With US

Jordan Times  |  June 18, 2006  |  Share  |  Source article

Zu'bi Highlights Benefits of Free Trade Agreement With US - Jordan

Jordan Times

18 June 2006

AMMAN (JT) - Industry and Trade Minister Sharif Zu'bi concluded Saturday a two-day working visit to Washington in which he discussed US-Jordan trade and economic relations with various administration officials, congressional leaders and US business leaders.

Zu'bi stressed the need to capitalise on the success of the US-Jordan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and enhance trade relations between the two countries.

He indicated that the Jordan-US FTA has attracted many multinational firms which in turn brought new expertise, technology, and jobs to the domestic market benefiting more than 55,000 Jordanian and guest workers especially in the garments industry.

The minister underlined the need to diversify exports to the US adding that "we are already seeing more activity in both jewellery and electronics industries."

In his discussions with US administration and congressional officials, Zu'bi presented the country's response to the allegations put forward by the National Labour Committee (NLC) report last month, in which 28 garment factories in Jordan were found to have labour law violations.

"We are taking the NLC report very seriously and we are taking immediate steps to improve labour conditions and upgrade our monitoring mechanism," Zu'bi said.

"We do not want to allow a few bad apples to ruin a decent and clean industry that has improved the lives of many Jordanians and guest workers," he added.

The minister stated further that the Ministry of Labour has launched an immediate investigation, forming nine inspection teams which visited the apparel factories in Jordan. An initial report published by the ministry suggested that three factories had already been shut down before the publishing of the report and another three did not exist in Jordan.

The Ministry of Labour might also shut down three more factories with gross violations of labour rights.

"We are working closely with the International Labour Organisation, US labour committees, the United States Trdae Representative, the State Department as well as US and Jordanian apparel companies to address the labour related challenges and to improve our monitoring system," he concluded.

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