Jordan has long been known as a reliable regional trading partner, but with purchasing power constricted in virtually all of the country’s neighboring markets, the Kingdom has had to develop an agile strategy for looking toward new markets. The USAID Jordan Competitiveness Program (JCP) has been at the forefront of this effort, working with the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MoPIC), the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Supply (MoITS), the Jordan Enterprise Development Company (JEDCO), and other key players to boost exports and target new markets, including by supporting the establishment of the Jordan-Africa Business Association. Through its firm-level assistance (FLA) work, its support to the American Chamber of Commerce in Jordan (AmCham) and Jordan’s pharmaceutical and ICT sectors, and its development of Enterprise Jordan, JCP has played a leading role in fast-tracking the Kingdom’s export growth targets.
With JCP Support, Jordanian Firms Edge into New Export Markets
Firm-level assistance (FLA) has been a stand-out activity of JCP, helping potential Jordanian exporters improve their performance and ready their products for sale abroad. Intent on addressing the Syrian refugee crisis through more long-term economic growth initiatives, JCP offered direct assistance to current and prospective Jordanian exporters through specific FLA for export to Europe as well as broader FLA efforts targeting markets worldwide.
JCP has assisted a variety of Jordanian product manufacturers and service providers to participate in international trade exhibitions and missions, including a 2018 trade mission to Africa. In 2018, for example, JCP partnered with the Jordan Exporters Association (JEA) to make possible a substantial Jordanian presence at two of the world’s leading food exhibitions. To date, 31 Jordanian companies have reported that the Yummex and Gulfood exhibitions alone generated 78 business leads. The Jordanian companies joined 1,600 global suppliers from 60 countries showcasing the latest food and beverage manufacturing business improvement tools. Participants in both exhibitions received partial JCP support for space rental, pavilion design, and other administrative costs. Also in 2018, JCP supported six Jordanian cosmetics' companies, along with the JEA and the Dead Sea Products Manufacturers' Association, to attend the SPATEC Europe exhibition in Morocco, one of the largest of its kind worldwide. In 2017, JCP connected Jordanian start-ups with international investors through the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona—one of the world’s largest gatherings of tech entrepreneurs. Through trade exhibitions and missions, JCP has helped participating firms secure more than $1 million in new investment, representing a more than ten-fold return on USAID’s investment.
Identifying High-Potential Export Sectors
The USAID Jordan Competitiveness Program, together with the Amman Chamber of Industry and in cooperation with the Jordan Strategy Forum (JSF), held a two-day workshop to identify priority industrial sectors and high-demand products for export, as well as key incentives and policy items vital to facilitate these products’ access to markets and boost their competitiveness. The workshop's first day was dedicated to the food industries, followed by plastic industries' day. Representatives from Jordan’s top-notch factories were present at the event. JCP will be interested to contribute, together with policymakers, to identifying related policy incentives, as well as link priority products and firms to JCP's new objectives—firm-level focused assistance for export purposes
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Enhancing Jordanian Exports to Africa
The USAID Jordan Competitiveness Program and Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Supply unveiled five in-depth profiles of African markets to which Jordanian firms could export their products and services. The profiles -- which featured Ethiopia, the Ivory Coast, Kenya, South Africa, and Tanzania -- were the result of a cooperative effort between USAID and the Ministry as well as the Jordan Chamber of Industry, which helped launch the research and consultative effort last December. Also present were representatives of the private sector, including two Jordanian exporters with an established track record of trade with Africa. The event and its outcomes are part of USAID's support to enhancing Jordanian trade with new markets.
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Pharmaceutical Industry Boasts More than $50 Million in Exports
Jordan’s pharmaceutical companies sell 80% of their production to more than 60 countries worldwide, representing 9% of Jordan’s total exports. This important industry has been a focus of JCP since the program’s inception, and the partnership was grounded in a formal Project Implementation Letter signed with USAID in April of 2017.
To make good on the promise of this partnership, JCP has worked with the Jordan Food and Drug Administration (JFDA) and the Jordanian Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (JAPM) to streamline the drug registration process, reducing the time to market for local pharmaceutical products and helping to keep the sector competitive. As a part of this, JCP supported efforts to reduce the backlog of drug applications at the JFDA and trained JFDA inspectors as well as pharmaceutical representatives in how to prepare effective applications. JCP also helped to install the electronic Common Technical Document (eCTD) system at both the JFDA and at six Jordanian pharmaceutical companies. Over two years, these six companies reported an additional $55,620,000 in exports since installing the eCTD. The installation, which allows exporters to register their drugs in foreign markets using internationally recognized standards, was managed by the JAPM as part of a grant from JCP.
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American Chamber of Commerce Links Jordanian Exporters with U.S. Buyers
The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Jordan and the United States, originally signed in 2001, paved the way for a vibrant trade relationship between the two countries, one that has ushered in an 800 percent increase in bilateral commerce, including a 4.5 percent boost in Jordanian exports to the United States in 2016 alone. With USAID support, the American Chamber of Commerce in Jordan (AmCham) has been a leading proponent of this vital trade relationship, which has helped Jordan weather the economic pressures brought on by regional instability. A three-year grant, first awarded in 2015, from JCP to AmCham has yielded significant gains in Jordan's quest to further leverage the FTA. These gains have included establishment of a dedicated FTA unit at AmCham, which, along with a national Tijara (Arabic for “Trade”) Coalition, has facilitated several trade missions in the last year alone. Through these and other AmCham activities, this USAID grant has already generated nearly $1 million in new exports. JCP support has also allowed AmCham to extend additional support aimed at strengthening the Tijara Coalition as well as assisting some 55 Jordanian companies with current or potential exports to the United States. As part of the Coalition's ongoing work, JCP is supporting 25 Jordanian enterprises to grow and diversify their exports to the United States, organizing six training sessions building the capacity of 30 Jordanian companies to export.
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