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Jordan's Minister of Industry and Trade Concludes U.S. Visit

U.S. Newswire  |  June 17, 2006  |  Share

Jordan's Minister of Industry and Trade Concludes U.S. Visit

June 17, 2006

To: National Desk

Contact: Embassy of Jordan Information Bureau, 202-265-1606

WASHINGTON, June 17 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Jordan's Minister of Industry and Trade Sharif Al Zu'bi concluded a two day working visit to Washington in which he discussed U.S.-Jordan trade and economic relations with various administration officials, congressional leaders and U.S. business leaders.

Al Zu'bi stressed the need to capitalize on the success of the U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement and enhance trade relations between the two countries. He said that the Jordan-U.S. 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. Al Zu'bi underlined the need to diversify exports to the U.S., adding that, "We are already seeing more activity in both jewelry and electronics industries."

In his discussions with U.S. administration and congressional officials, Al Zu'bi also highlighted Jordan's response to the allegations put forward by the National Labor Committee report last month, in which 28 garment factories in Jordan were found to have labor law violations. "We are taking the NLC report very seriously and we are taking immediate steps to improve labor conditions and upgrade our monitoring mechanism," Al 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.

Al Zu'bi stated further that Jordan's Ministry of Labor has launched an immediate investigation, forming nine inspection teams which visited the apparel factories in Jordan. An initial report was published by the MoL, which 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 Labor might also shut down three more factories with gross violations of labor rights. "We are working closely with the International Labor Organization, U.S. labor committees, USTR, the State Department as well as U.S. and Jordanian apparel companies to address the labor related challenges and to improve our monitoring system," Al Zu'bi said.

Al Zu'bi's meetings included the Middle East Free Trade Area coalition, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Labor and Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Europe and the Middle East, Rep. Ben Cardin, Rep. Charles Rangel, Rep. Sandy Lavin, the legislative director for Sen. Kent Conrad, the international trade council for Sen. Max Baucus, and officials at the Department of State and Department of Commerce. He was accompanied by Jordan's Ambassador to the United States Karim Kawar, Director of Jordan's Economic and Commerce Bureau in Washington Maher Matalka and Jordan's Trade Representative in Washington Yanal Beasha.

Al Zu'bi also appeared on Bloomberg TV's "Money and Politics" to discuss Jordan's trade relations with the U.S. and the steps Jordan has taken to tackle the challenges mentioned in the NLC report.

For more information, please contact the Jordan Information Bureau at 202-265-1606.

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