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French Version

Business Scene

JORDAN (Star) - * The World Bank has indicated its readiness to restructure Jordan\'s foreign debt. Extensive negotiations held last week between the World Bank and the government in Amman worked to restructure the $3.8 billion debt the Kingdom owes the Paris Club.

The World Bank is providing Jordan a $240 million loan to support reformation of the public sector for the period 2002-2004. The bank asked the government to speed up reforms. Jordan is the only country in the Middle East and North Africa that complies with the bank directions.
* The Jordan Investment Fund received $150 million in contributions from the private sector to support local investments in the Kingdom. The Atlas Investment Group, the Fursan Group, and Deutche Bank established the fund jointly. Plans are to officially launch the fund in summer 2002. His Majesty King Abdallah asked the private sector recently to support the fund and provide the required liquidity for investors and businessmen to support economic and social reforms in the Kingdom.

* Shareholdings in local companies declined in the first five months of this year by JD 74 million over the same period of last year. Investments in 2002 are estimated at JD 60 million. In 2001 that figure was closer to JD 135 million. Economists believe the rapid political instability in the region is behind the decline in the number of local and foreign shareholdings. One-third of these investments were made in the industrial sector, followed by the services sector with JD 18 million.

* Some 25 percent-worth approximately JD 800 million-of Jordan\'s imports originate in Arab states. Jordanian exports to these countries declined 4.5 percent to JD 475 million over the past five years. Officials at the Ministry of Trade and the Jordan Investment Board have protested the many Arab countries levying tariffs and custom duties on Jordanian exports, a tremendous restriction on mutual trade relations between two sides. The Arab Gulf states and Iraq are among the countries where Jordanian products face mounting hurdles to get in. Tariff exemptions approved by some Arab states have yet to be implemented.

* Jordanian pharmaceuticals comprise 40 percent of the Kingdom\'s domestic consumption. Economist Ahmed Seyam said the pharmaceutical sector in Jordan is expected to grow rapidly over the next two years, by an estimated $20-30 million, constituting $160 million in new production. Pharmaceuticals are the Kingdom\'s second largest product after phosphate, both of which remain Jordan\'s prime exports worldwide.

* Approximately JD 208.3 million worth of bad checks were passed over the last five months. The number of actual bounced checks exceeds 200,000, out of the 3.4 million checks circulated as of 31 May. In May checks bounced were worth some JD 37.7 million, 4 percent of the overall amount for the same month. The majority of checks were from presenters registered in Amman, where 640,000 checks worth JD 980 million were refused by local banks for lack of funds or incorrect information. * Turkish-Jordan trade relations are expected to flourish over the next two years. Trade volume between the two countries was worth $132 million in 2001, about $120 million of which was Turkish exports to Jordan. As of 31 March 2002 the volume was estimated at $21.1 million. Turkish businessmen continue discussions on conducting businesses in Jordan.

The Star

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