Delegates from the American Chambers of Commerce in Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon representing AmChams’ MENA Council, raised a number of issues and initiatives for cooperation and asked for the U.S. Chamber’s support and assistance in carrying them out.
In particular, the parties agreed to enhance their trade and investment relations between the U.S. and MENA countries through a number of programs such as organizing a MENA Council Conference in Washington D.C., joint MENA Council ‘door knock’ missions in Washington DC and other States, as well as outgoing and incoming trade and investment missions to facilitate business matchmaking to increase trade and attract U.S. investments in the region. The MENA Council representatives have also asked for U.S. Chamber’s support in moving forward with the Middle East Free Trade Agreement (MEFTA) initiated by President Bush in 2003.
The visit of the delegation from the US Chamber Commerce, hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Jordan, commenced the evening of January 17th with a reception and dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel in Amman, featuring keynote speaker Mr. Tom Donohue. The reception and dinner were sponsored by Jordan Ahli Bank and Jordan Modern Group for National & International Investments.
In his speech at the dinner attended by business leaders and Jordanian officials, Mr. Donohue described Jordan as gateway in the region and an attractive destination for American investments. He stressed the Kingdom’s progress in economic reform, trade liberalization and measures to build investor confidence in this market economy, and spoke about the importance of the bilateral Free Trade Agreement in strengthening commercial exchanges and expanding trade between the two FTA partners.
While making important progress in implementing economic reforms, he pointed out that Jordan has to continue to work on strengthening economic stability, curb bureaucracy and remove regulatory obstacles in order to further improve the investment climate.
He also spoke about the need to take steps to further develop economic ties and expand trade and investment relations between the United States, Jordan and countries of the MENA region. Given the challenging economic developments in the US and the impact that these developments have on the world economy, Mr. Donohue pointed out several commercial and trade policy priorities that the U.S. Chamber is addressing, as well as the political environment in Washington affecting US economic policy in the MENA and in the world.
Mr. Donohue cited a number of key issues which the US Chamber will work on; they include promoting benefits of globalization through free trade and the successful conclusion of the Doha Round negotiations, securing the energy needs and finding solutions to environmental concerns, improving infrastructure through investments in the transportation network, and solving the problems related to the labor market, while strengthening national security.
Mr.Saad Mouasher Deputy CEO / Head of Group Strategy, Sales & Marketing at Jordan Ahli Bank, one of the main sponsors of the dinner event, stated: “As a key player in Jordan’s economic growth, we are proud to sponsor this important event. This visit will help strengthen economic and strategic ties between Jordan and the United States. Ahli Bank’s sponsorship exemplifies how Jordanian institutions should encourage foreign investment and foster promising opportunities that will help create a positive impact on Jordan’s economic development.”
Mr. Raja Khouri, the Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Jordan, provided opening remarks and introduced Mr. Donohue.
In his remarks, Mr. Khouri spoke about the challenges and opportunities faced by the Jordanian economy, the role of the American Chamber of Commerce in advancing the path of economic reform and increase business opportunities between Jordan and the US through promoting trade and investment. He praised the excellent partnership between Jordan and the US and called for extending the cooperation between to two countries in order to bring peace, security and prosperity to the people of the region.
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