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Jordan, Israel Renew Trade Pact

January 12, 2000

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) _ Jordan and Israel renewed a bilateral trade agreement Wednesday and pledged to increase business activity between the two countries.

Israeli Trade Minister Ran Cohen and his Jordanian counterpart, Mohammad Asfour, said they also agreed to discuss setting up an industrial zone in Aqaba, a southern Jordanian Red Sea port, and Eilat, an adjoining Israeli area. The project would be significant for both countries because output from joint projects in the zone would be able to enter the U.S. free of market duties or quotas.

The Israel-Jordan trade agreement was reached in 1996, but it expired last year. Wednesday’s extension renews the agreement until April. The ministers will meet again before then to draft a new accord or renew the existing one for a longer period, said Roey Gilad, a spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Jordan.

Israeli figures show that two-way trade with Jordan for the first nine months of 1999 stood at $27.5 million. Cohen expressed disappointment with the data.

``We have to work hard to make our trade wider and deeper and cross $100 million a year,″ he said.

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