LONDON: Jordan’s new investment minister used his first visit to the UK to highlight prospects for cooperation and encourage British businesses to take advantage of the economic and investment opportunities available.
“We’re here on a mission to bring Jordan on the international platform to highlight the opportunities and the key driving factors that can make for good investments in Jordan,” Khairy Amr told Arab News on the sidelines of a roundtable discussion hosted by the London-based Arab British Chamber of Commerce.
He said the country had identified six sectors to focus on that were of “key relevance” to Jordan at this stage: Information technology, tourism, healthcare, transportation and logistics, agriculture, and life sciences.
“These are important areas that we highlight the need for further investment from our friends here in the UK,” he said, adding that trade, commerce, direct investment, and exchange of expertise with Britain were also being explored to open up new markets for Jordan-based businesses.
The new Investment Ministry was established last October following a cabinet reshuffle by the prime minister, signaling Jordan's commitment to accelerating inward investment and enhancing the competitiveness of its economy.
It replaced the Jordan Investment Commission and has joined the few entities representing investment in Jordan to become one big ministry, he said.
Amr, who met his British counterpart Gerry Grimstone and other officials during his visit, called on investors to use Jordan as a platform to access other markets due to its strategic location connecting three continents.
“This was historically the case, and that’s why places like Petra were built to accommodate trade and links with different countries and different continents.
“Today, the role has evolved significantly, there is the element of technology involved, and also there is an element of specific knowledge of regional markets and their specific requirements.”
The minister said his country played an important role because it had significant resident talent from Jordan and the region who knew these markets and their needs so it provided a platform for investors.
On top of that, he said they had built a significant array of bilateral trade agreements with Europe, the US, the Arab world, and Asia that allowed investors unencumbered, quota-free, and customs-free access to all these markets.
The former banker said he would like to see bilateral relations between the two countries elevated significantly to become an important partner.
“The UK has always been a very close ally and partner to Jordan in almost every aspect of economic and commercial activity and we would like to emphasize that, grow it, build further cooperation, and bring in more expertise and investment from the UK, as well as explore ways how we can open up UK markets for Jordan-based investors,” he said.
The Department for International Trade said in a May report that Jordan was the UK’s 89th largest trading partner in 2021, accounting for 0.1 percent of total UK trade.
Total trade in goods and services between the two countries was £653 million ($824 million) last year, an increase of 3.7 percent or £23 million from 2020.
Bandar Reda, secretary-general and CEO of the Arab British Chamber of Commerce, said the roundtable provided a great opportunity for their members to hear “firsthand from the investment decision maker of Jordan and to see the development of that great country.”
He also said the timing of the minister’s visit and that he chose the UK was perfect because it presented a real opportunity to show the country’s new regulations and development, particularly after the ministry was formed.
“The Arab British Chamber of Commerce, we consider it to be the house of all the Arab business community in the UK,” he said, adding that the organization was keen to facilitate cooperation with Arab countries, the British government, and businesses.