When the Government of Jordan negotiated a set of agreements with the international community aimed at mitigating the effects of the Syria refugee crisis and turn that crisis into an economic development opportunity, the USAID Jordan Competitiveness Program was tapped by international donors to establish the Jordan Compact Project Management Unit (PMU) at the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation. Through seconded staff, logistical and procurement support, and technical assistance, JCP has been the backbone of the Jordan Compact’s implementation and oversight. In the year since the PMU’s establishment, JCP experts worked with the private sector to establish a Firm-Level Assistance program that has already assessed nearly 100 Jordanian firms with the highest potential to export to the European Union under the Compact’s signature simplified rules of origin decision. Of these, JCP experts worked with the most promising to whittle down the list of potential exporters to the two-dozen companies that are now receiving customized support with marketing, packaging, and outreach to specific buyers in the EU.
Facilitating Access to European Markets
As per the EU-Jordanian Association Council decision made at the London Conference last year, 18 designated development zones and industrial areas across Jordan are now able to export their manufactured products to EU markets under new simplified rules of origin, or RoO. Since its establishment in late 2016, the Jordan Compact Project Management Unit (PMU) has been hard at work with relevant organizations from the government and the donor community to identify the challenges hindering Jordanian products’ export process. To this end, the PMU has held planning workshops involving key donor and government representatives. The workshops address the current export challenges for Jordanian factories operating in the 18 development zones. Those challenges include difficulty in meeting the 15 percent target of Syrian hires, lack of skilled labor to work in the industrial sector, and manufacturers’ lack of familiarity with EU standards, specifications, and technical regulations.
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Bringing Together Trade Representatives
Supported by the USAID Jordan Competitiveness Program and the Arab-Danish Partnership Programme, the Jordan Chamber of Industry has served as a convening platform for Economic and Trade Attaches at Arab and Foreign Embassies in the Kingdom. Representatives of participating countries have worked together to channel available support programs towards the industrial sector in Jordan and provide the necessary technical and financial support to contribute to building the business environment inside and outside Jordan, including initiatives necessary for enabling Jordanian industries to export to European markets in light of the simplified rules of origin under the Jordan Compact.
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