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Business Scene

* Jordan's exports of minerals to India witnessed a 53 percent increase in the first half of 2002, to JD 33 million. This is nearly 41.5 percent of all Jordanian exports to India this year, estimated at JD 79.5 million. India's trade relations with Jordan account for 12 percent of the Kingdom's world trade. According to the General Statistics Department, the Kingdom imported JD 30 million in Indian goods in the first half of this year, about a 12.5 percent increase over the same period from 2001. Jordan's trade volume with India this year doubled last year's JD 77.5 million.

* Tourism revenues in Jordan are expected to double by 2010. Experts and investors from the public and private sectors agreed recently to develop new tourist projects in the Kingdom to help increase revenues from JD 500 million in 2001, to JD 1.5 billion by 2010. The two sides noted such projects need first to develop infrastructure at local tourist sites and create services that will impress new tourists to the Kingdom.

* There are more than 4,730 white cabs operating in Jordan every day. These cabs transfer more than a half million people around the Kingdom. Almost 4000 white cabs are working in Amman alone. Mohammed Hamid, director-general of the Jordan Transport Regulatory Commission, said the commission is studying the financial and physical conditions of these cabs and will adopt a new system to regulate the flow of these cabs on the Kingdom's streets and roads. Many drivers complain of the low fares on their routes, which they claim are below required levels. Hamid promised to make the service cabs more professional and to take further steps to adapt to public demand as soon as next year.

* Jordan imported more than JD 7.5 million in palm oil from Malaysia this year. Mutual trade volume in the first eight months of 2002 has reached JD 30 million, about two-thirds of which are Malaysian imports to Jordan. Last year, the trade volume between Malaysia and Jordan topped JD 94 million.

* The private sector in Jordan built more than 10,500 apartments and housing units during the period 1998-2000, at a cost of JD 181 million. About 60 percent of these apartments, worth JD 133 million, were built in Amman. The General Statistics Department noted recently that more than 8000 apartments are currently under construction and are expected to be completed by the end of 2002. The department stated that the contracting sector in Jordan witnessed a 31 percent increase in its added-value projects for 2001, to JD 120 million. From 1998-2000, these projects produced about JD 430.5 million in buildings and lodgings. More than 26,000 Jordanians are working in these projects.

* The government released tenders this year worth JD 130 million. Most of these tenders are related to services and infrastructure development projects. About half of the released tenders are contracted by local companies or in partnership with foreign ones. The Ministries of Public Works and Housing, Water, and Tourism are guiding most of these projects.

* Royal Jordanian received an offer from Boeing to sell ten 737's to the national carrier for $500 million. Boeing also offered extensive assistance to Royal Jordanian to finance the deal through the US-based Export and Import Bank. If the deal goes through, the new Boeing planes will replace the current Airbus 310's. Royal Jordanian is currently working on a strategic plan to modernize its fleet.

* Jordan's landmark synchrotron radiation accelerator will be launched in January 2003. The accelerator, worth more than JD 60 million, was assembled in Jordan from German imports. The accelerator is expected to start operation in 2005. The plant facilities, located in Allan, northeast of Amman, were constructed by Al Balqa University for Applied Sciences. The plant will be used for the development of research and studies in radiation-related sciences, such as medicine, industry, physics and chemistry.

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