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Al Mushatta looks to boost Jordan’s industry

Jordan: Thursday, October 05 - 2006 @ 09:53

Established as a public shareholding company in 2002 with an investment capital of $42 million, the Investors and Eastern Arab for Industrial and Real Estate Investments was created with the aim of initiating heavy and medium high tech industries in Jordan. The IEAI implemented the Al Mushatta project back in 2004 on 43 million square feet of land, 35 kilometres south of Amman, with the purpose of developing an internationally recognised industrial zone.

Aviation City

Once the first phase of Al Mushatta is ready, the main management and service buildings will have been built, as will the industrial area for the first key sub-project, the Aviation City. The idea behind this is to create a major hub for aircraft production; the IEAI envisages the wholesale construction of commercial and government aircraft as well as the manufacture of spare parts, in addition to maintenance facilities and a flight school.

Al Mushatta’s location alongside the country’s main international airport will clearly strengthen the plan’s chances of success and the decision earlier this year of the Jordanian Aerospace Industry to move to the zone and invest around $100 million in setting up a 1.1 million square feet plant to manufacture three types of single engine aircraft was a major boost.

The IEAI is hopeful of cementing further tie-ups with the JAI in time and it has also been involved in contractual discussions with the global light aircraft manufacturer Diamond Aircraft about setting up a base at Al Mushatta. Diamond would look to build three types of jet at the zone, primarily for the Middle Eastern market.

Diversified deals

Although the aviation scheme is a major focus of the current phase, the IEAI has been keen to ensure a diversified mix of projects gets underway at the zone. In July, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with Koni Konsultants to develop a hotel in the industrial park on 112,000 square feet of land. The deal will see Koni responsible for the building, operating and managing of the hotel.

Another significant deal, which was confirmed at the end of September, will see the Joffco International Manufacturing and Trading Company, which specialises in the production of safety related equipment, commence building a $7.1 million plant at Al Mushatta in December.

Promotion push

But one of the most significant agreements penned by the IEAI in the past couple of months was that with the Fortress Company for Investment and Commerce to promote the industrial city overseas and generate investment from the likes of Europe, Asia and the US. Fortress is an investment, development, management and consulting firm with a special emphasis on technology, information systems and the energy sectors.

Fortress would do well perhaps to draw the attention of any interested investors to Al Mushatta’s Qualifying Industrial Zone status. The QIZ status enables goods manufactured within the zone to be sent to the US entirely duty free, a good few years in advance of the Free Trade Agreement drawn up between Jordan and the US in 2001 permitting this.

But with negotiations already underway for an exhibitions and conference centre and plans in place for a logistics city within the zone, Al Mushatta seems to be making solid enough progress, considering that its official launch isn’t until next March.

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Thursday, October 5- 2006 @ 9:53 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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