Jordan, officially The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is an Arab kingdom in Western Asia, on the East Bank of the Jordan River. Jordan is bordered by Arabia to the east and south; Iraq to the north-east; Syria to the north; Israel, Palestine and the Dead Sea to the west; and the Red Sea in its extreme south-west. Jordan is strategically located at the crossroads of Asia, Africa, and Europe. The capital, Amman, is Jordan’s most populous city as well as the country’s economic, political, and cultural center
What is now Jordan has been inhabited by humans since the Paleolithic period. Three stable kingdoms emerged there at the end of the Bronze Age: Ammon, Moab and Edom. Later rulers include the Nabataean Kingdom, the Roman Empire, and the Ottoman Empire. After the Great Arab Revolt against the Ottomans in 1916 during World War I, the Ottoman Empire was partitioned by Britain and France. The Emirate of Transjordan was established in 1921 by the then Emir Abdullah I and it became a British protectorate. In 1946, Jordan became an independent state officially known as The Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. Jordan captured the West Bank during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, which it later lost in 1967, and the name of the state was changed to The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in 1949.Jordan is a founding member of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Co-operation, and is one of two Arab states to have signed a peace treaty with Israel. The country is a constitutional monarchy, but the king holds wide executive and legislative powers.
Jordan is a relatively-small, semi-arid, almost-landlocked country with a population numbering 9.5 million. Sunni Islam, practiced by around 92% of the population, is the dominant religion in Jordan. It co-exists with an indigenous Christian minority. Jordan is among the safest of Arab countries in the Middle East, and has avoided long-term terrorism and instability. In the midst of surrounding turmoil, it has been greatly hospitable, accepting refugees from almost all surrounding conflicts as early as 1948, with most notably the estimated 2.1 million Palestinians and the 1.4 million Syrian refugees residing in the country. The kingdom is also a refuge to thousands of Iraqi Christians fleeing the Islamic State. While Jordan continues to accept refugees, the recent large influx from Syria placed substantial strain on national resources and infrastructure.
Jordan is classified as a country of “high human development” with an “upper middle income” economy. The Jordanian economy, one of the smallest economies in the region, is attractive to foreign investors based upon a skilled workforce. The country is a major tourist destination, and also attracts medical tourism due to its well-developed health sector. Nonetheless, a lack of natural resources, large flow of refugees and regional turmoil have hampered economic growth.
Qualifying Industrial Zone, Jordan:
On 6 March 1998, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) designated the Al-Hassan Industrial Estate in the northern city of Irbid as the first QIZ. Since then, an addition twelve QIZs have been also designated across the country. Prominent QIZs include the Al-Hussein Ibn Abdullah II Industrial Estate at Al Karak, owned and operated by the Jordan Industrial Estate Corporation, the Jordan Cyber City in Irbid, the privately owned Al-Tajamouat Industrial Estate at Amman, Ad-Dulayl Industrial Park and El-Zai Ready-wear Manufacturing Company near Zarqa. Upcoming industrial parks include the Gateway QIZ on the northern border with Israel, Aqaba Industrial Estate at Aqaba, and the Mushatta International complex in Amman.
Jordan has seen a substantial economic growth since the QIZ were set up. Exports from Jordan to the United States grew from 15 million USD to over 1 billion USD in 2004. Government sources have estimated that over 40,000 jobs have been created with the setup of QIZs. Investment is currently valued at USD 85–100 million and expected to grow to $180 to $200 million. The success of QIZ have led to the United States and Jordan signing a Free Trade Agreement in 2001 that was approved by the US Congress.
Between 1998 and 2005 Jordan moved up from the United States’ thirteenth to eight largest trading partners among the 20 Middle-East-North African (MENA) entities. In 2005, US exports to and imports from Jordan totaled an estimated $1.9 billion: U.S. exports, at an estimated $646 million, were 1.8 times their 1998 level; US imports, at $1.3 billion, were 80 times their 1998 level. Despite the 2001 FTA between the United States and Jordan, 75% of Jordanian articles enter the United States through the QIZ program.
The apparel industry dominates both Jordan’s QIZs and total exports to the United States, accounting for 99.9% of all QIZ exports and 86% of all Jordanian exports to the United States. The reason for this dominance is that QIZ products enter the United States free of duty, whereas, under the US–Jordan FTA, tariffs will not be fully eliminated until the end of the ten-year phase-in period, in 2011.
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