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French Version

Business Scene

JORDAN (Star) - *Reports from Israel last week suggested they would not provide Jordan its usual portion of water this year. The reports suggested the Israeli government had decided to cut Jordan's share of the Jordan River's water this summer in half to 25 million cubic meters.

This is contrary to what the two sides had agreed upon in their peace treaty signed more than seven years ago. Israeli officials claim the decision was made based upon the mounting consumption of water there. Israel's Ministry of Water said it would help Jordan build a desalination station on the Dead Sea to meet Jordan's water needs.
*The market value of the Amman Stock Exchange (ASE) increased last year by 28 percent to JD 4.47 billion. Abdel Rahman Touqan, ASE's Chairman, said non-Jordanian investments in the stock market makes up 38.5 percent of its overall trading volume. He noted a joint Arab bourse will be established later this year and a $5 million Arab clearance company is currently under way. Touqan said the ASE is expected to witness the participation of Jordan Telecom Co and some local IT companies in the market's daily trading this year.

*The Jordanian municipalities will have JD 87 million in their budget for this year. This still leaves 2 percent that will have to be met outside of government funding. About 52 percent of this budget will be paid out in allowances and salaries, estimated at JD 45.2 million. Municipal expenses are estimated to be worth JD 21 million. Currently more than 17,800 employees are working in local councils. Sources at the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs said the ministry will not lay off any of its employees, but instead they will be moved into more productive programs.

*This year's budget for the Irbid Municipality will be worth JD 13.5 million. Some of the money will go into development of infrastructure and maintenance operations. The municipality will also conclude the implementation of IT networks in its departments this year, including the launching of a new geographical information system.

*Trade transactions through Jordan's free trade zone in 2001 increased by 28 percent over 2000 to JD 690 million. Transit business to foreign markets also increased by 50.6 percent to JD 452 million. Trade zones received 123 investments last year, an increase of 84 projects over the previous year. Five new free trade areas are currently under construction around the Kingdom. These projects are expected to attract investments worth more than $1 billion and provide 120,000 jobs for Jordanians.

*Exports made by the Qualified Industrial Zones in 2001 were worth an estimated JD 209.1 million. These zones hosted 45 projects worth JD 280 million. They are expecting to receive 31 more projects this year, valued at JD 73 million. The majority of these projects will come from Jordan, the UAE, the Far East and Israel.

*The government succeeded in narrowing the trade deficit with its Arab counterparts to 3.3 percent in 2001. Jordan's exports to Arab markets increased by 19 percent to more than JD 500 million, comprising 39 percent of Jordan's exports to world markets. Iraq was the first importer of Jordanian goods with JD 123.5 million, followed by Saudi Arabia with JD 88 million. Jordanian exports to the Palestinian National Authority last year declined to JD 14.3 million from JD 17.5 million in 2000 almost exclusively due to Israeli restrictions. Jordan's imports from Arab countries increased last year by 9.5 percent to more than JD 800 million.

The Star redaction
The Star

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