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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
02AMMAN5515
2002-09-25 06:58:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Amman
Cable title:  

JORDAN'S TRADE MINISTRY GEARING UP FOR JOINT

Tags:   ETRD  EINV  EAGR  JO  OPIC 
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						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 AMMAN 005515 

SIPDIS

STATE PASS USTR FOR NED SAUMS AND CATHY NOVELLI
STATE PASS USAID FOR TOM OLIVER
USDOC FOR MOLLY WILLIAMSON
TREASURY FOR OASIA - LARRY MCDONALD
OPIC FOR JIM HANSLEY
CAIRO FOR AGCOUNS
CUSTOMS FOR FARAH NAIM AND LEON HAYWARD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD EINV EAGR JO OPIC
SUBJECT: JORDAN'S TRADE MINISTRY GEARING UP FOR JOINT
COMMISSION

REF: AMMAN 471

SUMMARY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 AMMAN 005515

SIPDIS

STATE PASS USTR FOR NED SAUMS AND CATHY NOVELLI
STATE PASS USAID FOR TOM OLIVER
USDOC FOR MOLLY WILLIAMSON
TREASURY FOR OASIA - LARRY MCDONALD
OPIC FOR JIM HANSLEY
CAIRO FOR AGCOUNS
CUSTOMS FOR FARAH NAIM AND LEON HAYWARD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD EINV EAGR JO OPIC
SUBJECT: JORDAN'S TRADE MINISTRY GEARING UP FOR JOINT
COMMISSION

REF: AMMAN 471

SUMMARY


1. (u) The Ambassador delivered the USG's official
invitation to convene the 2002 U.S.-Jordan Joint Commission
to Jordanian Trade Minister Salah al Bashir on September 22.
Accepting the invitation, Bashir provided the GOJ's
preferences for dates, events, and agenda items for the Joint
Commission. Embassy will be working in the coming weeks with
the ministry and with private sector delegation members to
ensure a substantive Washington program. We will also be
seeking assistance from interested Washington agencies to set
up meetings and events on both the public- and private-sector
sides.

DELEGATION COMPOSITION


2. (u) While the GOJ has not yet decided on the exact
composition of the incoming delegation, Bashir said he
expected the total delegation size to be around 15, including
about 5 GOJ officials from the Trade Ministry and Customs and
another 10 private sector and quasi-private sector
individuals, the latter likely representing some of the more
prominent of Jordan's' 23-odd trade and business
associations. Bashir promised to have a delegation list
finalized by the beginning of next week (September 30). Once
we have it, we will forward it to Washington and begin
setting up side meetings for private-sector delegates.

DATES AND EVENTS


3. (u) Bashir proposed holding the official JC meeting on
October 24th. He said the ministry would like to tie the end
of the official meeting in, via digital video conference
(DVC), to an FTA promotion seminar that will be held
concurrently in Amman and in Jordanian embassies in 5-6 other
regional capitals, with the idea that the JC principals could
briefly address the seminar and take 5-6 questions from the
field concerning the FTA. Bashir expressed hope that USTR
Zoellick would participate in the DVC, adding he hoped to get
King Abdullah to make brief remarks as well.


4. (u) In addition to these senior-level meetings, the GOJ
would like to hold technical-level discussions on the 23rd,
both to follow up on customs issues raised during the August
Rules of Origin DVC, and to begin discussions on other
customs-related issues they plan to raise during the JC (see
proposed agenda items, below).


5. (u) The GOJ has asked for our assistance in scheduling
an FTA promotional event on the 23rd to provide an
opportunity for private-sector delegates to meet U.S.
counterparts. Since Jordanian private-sector delegates are
to be trade/business association representatives culled from
the TIJARA committee (reftel), one proposal for an
appropriate FTA promotional event was to have a large group
meeting including the Jordanian delegates and their closest
U.S. counterparts, followed by break-out meetings between
individual associations, to include their public relations
staffs.



6. (u) Bashir expressed a strong interest (since echoed by
the local amcham) in maximizing press coverage for the event
in order to raise awareness of opportunities under the FTA to
a broader U.S. business audience. Optimally, Bashir said he
would like to have a "hook" for such a promotion, and
mentioned specifically the possibility of announcing the
entry-into-force of the long-awaited Bilateral Investment
Treaty. A promotional event with the BIT announcement as a
centerpiece could be a strong draw for new investment
interest, in his view.

AGENDA ITEMS


7. (u) The GOJ intends to provide us with a detailed list
of proposed agenda items by early next week (September 30).
Broadly, they would like to accomplish the following:

-- review the environmental management capacity assessment,
as outlined in the FTA (Note: two USAID-funded contractors
are completing the study now, and expect it to be ready for
presentation in time for the JC meeting. End note);

-- discuss avenues of cooperation/technical assistance to
improve Jordan's ability to attract FTA-related investment,
to include improving Jordanian private sector access to U.S.
marketing and distribution channels;

-- clarify procedures for obtaining E-1 and E-2 visas, and
clarify what sort of traveler would normally seek out such a
visa;

-- propose allowing Jordanian businesses to apply QIZ Rules
of Origin to FTA products (Note: in the case of textiles,
this would allow fabric cut in Israel and sewn in Jordan to
qualify as Jordanian for RO purposes, in the GOJ's view. End
note.);

-- consider allowing Jordan to operate an "OPA" operation,
similar to Hong Kong, whereby cut fabric would be allowed
into Jordan for sewing and would count toward the 35% country
of origin requirement (Note: this idea has not been entirely
fleshed out by the GOJ side; we expect further details when
we receive the detailed agenda proposals. End note.);

-- discuss allowing cumulation from neighboring territories
for country of origin purposes.


8. (u) Note that this list is not exhaustive. Once a final
agenda proposal is delivered, we will forward it to concerned
Washington agencies.

OTHER MEETINGS SOUGHT


9. (u) In addition to the official meeting with USTR on the
24th, Bashir will seek meetings with the following while he
is in Washington:

-- senior-level Treasury officials, to request that Jordan
and the U.S. begin negotiations on a bilateral double
taxation convention;

-- senior-level USDA officials, to discuss possibilities for
future food aid to Jordan, including PL 480 Title I and "Food
for Progress";

-- Officials at OPIC to discuss uses for the OPIC facility in
Jordan, following up on meetings with OPIC VP Cynthia
Hoestler and Jim Hansley in Amman.
GNEHM