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French Version

Business Scene

JORDAN (Star) - * The Social Security Corp (SSC) has decided to establish a special unit to run its investments in the Kingdom, now estimated at some JD 1.6 billion.

The unit will have the authority to research and conduct these assets to yield higher profits for the future. Some 800 million of the corporation's resources are held in local banks. There are also dividends in many shareholding companies, including hotels. The corporation is in possession of JD 21 million worth of land. The SSC's treasury bills exceed JD 44.5 million. Last week the corporation took control of 200,000 shares of the Jordan Petroleum Refinery Co worth approximately JD 5.1 million.
* Al Hassan Industrial City, located near Irbid, produced goods worth $18.1 million in April. About $16 million of this was textiles; the remainder included medical, agricultural and electronic industrial products. The US was the number one importer from the industrial city, followed by Israel and Iraq.

* The Special Economic Zone in Aqaba earned JD 1.6 million in revenues from sales tax in the first quarter of 2002. This is an increase of 12 times over the same period last year. Nearly 75 percent of this revenue went into the budget. The ASEZ Authority received the remaining 25 percent. There are more than 800 companies working in the zone controlling more than $1.5 billion in investments. The zone's statistics reveal a strong increase in the number of visitors this year. More than 75,000 people had visited Aqaba at the end of March 2002.

* The Ministry of Public Works and Housing has allocated JD 80-90 million to build new highways and roads throughout the Kingdom. The ministry is also working on a JD 75 million project to establish a complex for public departments in Amman. The government is currently spending JD 13 million for rents for public departments.

* Trade relations between Romania and Jordan have been forecasted to increase gradually in the coming years. An agreement signed last week in Amman is designed to invigorate bilateral investments between the two nations. These will be part of the Jordan-European Association Agreement, which became effective on 2 May. Trade volume between the two countries in 2001 was $30 million, largely in favor of the Romanians.

* The economic-social transformation program has allotted JD 102 million for the Balqa governorate. The money will be distributed amongst 115 projects scheduled for this year. These include the rehabilitation of infrastructure in the area, and incentives to improve economic sectors. Projects related to agriculture, education, tourism, culture and housing sectors are all on the agenda.

* Jordan's vegetable and fruit exports in March were worth JD 12.6 million. Syria was the largest importer with some 36 percent of the exports, followed by the United Arab Emirates with 16 percent. Non-Arab countries imported 15 percent. Jordan's trade relations with Arab countries increased by JD 160 million to JD 1.4 billion in 2001 of which 60 percent were imports to the Kingdom.

* The Jordan Vegetable Oil Co lost more than JD 6 million in sales last year due to what has been called unfair competition. Financial statements indicate the company sold goods worth JD 8.2 million, down from JD 14.6 million in 2000. Most of the losses came from the gradual reduction of company exports to Iraq, which declined to 3500 tons-near half of the exports seen in 2000. The company added new partners and investors at the end of 2001 that have shown interest in promoting operations in the Kingdom and abroad.

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