AMMAN — The Economic Forum for Financial, Industrial, and Commercial Partnerships between Iraq, Jordan, and the region convened on Monday, with participants calling for bolstered trade relations between Jordan and Iraq.

The forum also underscored the importance of supporting small enterprises to stimulate economic growth and create job opportunities, particularly for the youth, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Throughout the discussions, attendees lauded the Kingdom’s support for Iraq, underscoring the significance of leveraging the recent diplomatic visit of Iraqi President Abdul Latif Jamal Rashid to Jordan as a foundation for future collaboration.

Key recommendations included promoting private-sector cooperation to establish joint investment ventures and capitalising on available opportunities.

They also emphasised the need to accelerate the establishment of the Joint Economic Estate Project and develop a comprehensive roadmap for sustainable economic development in both countries.

The forum also called for the translation of agreed initiatives into actionable measures, highlighting the necessity to nurture mutually beneficial economic relations and encourage Jordanian companies, especially in the construction and banking sectors, to broaden their presence in the Iraqi market.

The forum also stressed the importance of simplifying visa procedures for Jordanians entering Iraq and providing ample opportunities for private sector participation in Iraqi ventures, with a particular emphasis on sectors such as mining and digital transformation.

A separate session on investment opportunities in the region, held on the sidelines of the forum, urged Arab governments to formulate strategic plans and continue economic reforms to enhance their investment climates and position themselves as primary destinations for various types of investment.

Participants also reiterated the importance of supporting SMEs, given that they constitute the majority of the region’s economies, emphasising the need for regional cooperation and partnerships, akin to the Integrated Industrial Partnership Initiative for Sustainable Economic Development, which involved Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco. This initiative has led to numerous investments in sectors such as food, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, minerals, chemicals, and electric vehicles.

Assistant Secretary General at the Federation of Arab Businessmen Tariq Hijazi highlighted a 74 per cent increase in the number of foreign direct investment projects flowing into the region during 2022, reaching 1,617 projects, with an investment cost increase of 358 per cent, totaling $200 billion.

Hijazi also noted that the cumulative value of investments in the region over the past two decades reached $1.5 trillion through more than 16,000 projects, providing over two million job opportunities.

Hijazi affirmed that Jordan ranked 13th among Arab countries in terms of hosting foreign direct investment projects in terms of investment cost during 2022, with a value of $377 million and 10 projects implemented by nine foreign companies. In contrast, Iraq ranked 9th in terms of the number of foreign projects during 2022 and 10th in terms of the cost of foreign direct investment projects in Arab countries, amounting to $1.03 billion during the same year.

The forum, organised by the Iraqi Business Council in partnership with the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Jordan and Amman, included a trade and industrial exhibition featuring major commercial and industrial companies from Jordan, Iraq, and other Arab countries.

It served as a platform for dialogue on various economic and investment-related issues, showcasing promising investment prospects in both Jordan and Iraq, as well as success stories of local companies.



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