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French Version

Business Scene

JORDAN (Star) - * The government is planning to establish a new commission for food and medicine in Jordan.

Minister of National Economy, Mohammed Halaiqa, said the commission is expected to be a Jordanian version of the US's Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Its main objective is to facilitate the flow of exports to local and foreign markets. The US agency for pharmaceutical research (Pharma) is currently in negotiations with Jordanian medicine producers to facilitate export to the US.
* Jordan's pharmaceutical exports are expected to increase this year by JD 20 million to JD 150 million. The Jordanian Pharmaceuticals Association is launching a campaign to promote local medicine locally and regionally. Recent statements indicate Jordanian medicines are now sold in 65 countries worldwide, including Europe and Africa. The pharmaceutical sector comprises 8 percent of Jordan's GDP. Exports for the first quarter of 2002 have reached JD 36 million.

* Jordan's foreign debt increased this year by JD 75 million to JD 1.6 billion from 2001. These loans equate to some 25 percent of the GDP and 33 percent of Jordan's foreign debts, now estimated at JD 5 billion. Among the loans is a current World Bank debt of JD 292 million, and JD 164 million to the European Investment Bank. The government approved JD 136.6 million to pay off a portion of this debt for 2002.

* The power-generating sector in Jordan has thus far earned JD 13.16 million in profit. Two companies, the National Electricity Co and the Irbid Electricity Co, are the prime producers. Statements released indicate the value of electricity sold in 2001 increased 7 percent to JD 190 million. Experts expect a gradual increase in energy consumption in Jordan due to the increase in population and industry.

* Zara Investment Co suffered JD 11.3 million in losses last year. The company's sources attributed the losses to political instability in the region and the 11 September attacks on the US. Subeih Al Masri, the company's chairman, suggested the sluggish tourism sector and the consequences of the US attacks on global aviation were the main reasons behind the losses. The company is currently working on a variety of projects including a touristic-village called "Tala Bay" in Aqaba. The first phase of the village, worth JD 38 million, is expected to begin operation in 2008.

* The Jordanian Investment Corp failed to earn any profits in the first quarter of this year, contrary to the JD 5 million made in the same period of 2001. Notable revenues from the land sales were up, however. By March's close the corporation had earned JD 15 million in revenues, a JD 3 million increase from 2001. Custom duties and tariffs declined by 7 percent to JD 49.1 million.

* Saudi investments in Jordan in the first quarter of 2002 were the highest of any foreign investor, estimated at JD 2 million. Iraqi investments came next with JD 1.1 million. Israeli investments also increased in Jordan this year by 65 percent over 2001 to more than JD 150 million. American, European and Chinese investments all declined from last year, experts citing political instability in the region. The total of local and foreign investments employed this year declined JD 10 million to JD 37 million.

* Twenty-two contracts were signed this year between Jordanian and US businessmen, said to be worth $2.85 million. Samer Al Tawil, chief of the follow-up committee on the US-Jordan Free Trade Agreement, said bilateral investments are expected to increase this year especially in light industry, food, textiles and marble. Al Tawil is also conducting a special initiative to promote the Jordanian exports in US and North American markets.

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