Israel and Jordan ink deal to increase Jordanian exports to West Bank

The trade deal, part of the Israel-Jordanian water agreement, increases Jordanian exports to Palestinian areas of the West Bank from $160 million to $700m.

JORDAN’S KING ABDULLAH II listens during a meeting in Amman in May. (photo credit: ALEX BRANDON/POOL VIA REUTERS)
JORDAN’S KING ABDULLAH II listens during a meeting in Amman in May.
(photo credit: ALEX BRANDON/POOL VIA REUTERS)

Israel and Jordan signed a deal on Wednesday to increase exports from the Hashemite Kingdom to the West Bank, in a move that will help the flagging Jordanian and Palestinian economies.

Economy Minister Orna Barbivai, who signed the agreement on Israel’s behalf, traveled to Jordan for the occasion. It was the first such visit by an Israeli economy minister in a decade.

The deal, which was first publicized in September, was part of the Israel-Jordanian water agreement. The trade deal increases Jordanian exports to Palestinian areas of the West Bank from $160 million to $700 million. The Palestinian Authority will also have to sign the agreement before it can be implemented.

Jordanian exports to the West Bank will include cement, construction products, rugs, clothing and electronic products.

According to the Jordan News Agency, some 425 goods will now be duty-free in the Palestinian market based on PA specifications and another 32 goods will be exempt from custom duties based on Israeli requirements.

Orna Barbivay at Presidential Meeting (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)Orna Barbivay at Presidential Meeting (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Separately, in Barbivai’s meeting with Jordanian Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply Yousef Alshamali near the Dead Sea, she discussed ways to strengthen Israeli-Jordanian economic ties, through the expansion of trade and tourism.

“The trade benefits agreed upon today between the Israeli government and Jordan are an important dimension in the strengthening of diplomatic relations between the two countries,” Barbivai said.

“Deepening civilian and economic ties contribute to bilateral relations, national security and the protection of Israel’s longest and most quiet border,”Barbivai said.

Israel’s ambassador to Jordan Eitan Sorkis and Jordan’s Ambassador to Israel Rassan al-Majali also attended the meeting.

Since entering office in May, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has worked to repair the frayed relationship between the two countries. Both he and Israel’s president Isaac Herzog have met with King Abdullah in recent months. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has similarly met with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi.