Country Information: Jordan

Jordan has a number of opportunities for exporters, and in some fields, for importers too.  It is not a country that should be overlooked as an international trade partner.

General Economic Information
Jordan’s economy is among the smallest in the Middle East and its resource base centres on phosphates, potash and their fertilizer derivatives. Jordan has 6 special zones that attract large-scale investment – Aqaba, Mafraq, Ma’an, Ajloun, the Dead Sea and Irbid. Jordan also has good industrial base in the textile, aerospace, defence, ICT, pharmaceutical and cosmetic sectors. Tourism, overseas remittances and foreign aid are also important. The main obstacles to Jordan’s economy are scarce water supplies, complete reliance on oil and gas imports for energy (due to a lack of coal reserves, hydroelectric power, large forests or oil reserves), and regional instability. Jordan’s financial sector was not overly influenced by the international financial crisis due to its limited exposure to overseas capital markets. Jordan is currently exploring nuclear power generation to forestall energy shortfalls (recently made worse by a series of natural gas pipeline attacks in Egypt).

General Marketing Information
Price is a major consideration in the Jordanian economy. However, young people, who represent more than 60% of the total population, are keen on technological innovations, especially in the IT and telecommunications sectors. However, in all markets an important and growing requirement is for quality after sales service.  Jordanian commercial activity is concentrated around Amman (which has westernised consumer habits) and the cities of Aqaba, Zarqa and Irbid.
It is estimated that Jordan’s imports in 2012 were US$ 17.73 billion (Index Mundi). These figures are calculated on an exchange rate basis and not in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. The main commodities imported were crude oil, machinery, transport equipment, iron and cereals.

Economic Cooperation
Jordan is part of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA), a pact of the Arab League entered in January 2005 which aims to form an Arabic free trade area.  It has also signed bilateral free trade agreements with most of the countries of the Arab League.  In addition, Jordan has signed agreements with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), the USA, Canada, Singapore and the Euro-Mediterranean Association which provides for a free trade area between the European Community (EC) and other signatory countries.

Licences and Restrictions
For Jordanian importers, import licences are not normally required for most goods (unless they are on a prohibited list) but an exchange permit is. This, however, is not difficult to obtain and allows the importer to pay on presentation of documents or to open a Documentary Letter of Credit.

It is not possible to export tomatoes, fresh milk, mineral water, table salt or plastic waste to Jordan. There are quantitative limitations on the import of certain manufactured goods and some specific products are reserved for the Jordanian State such as surge, wheat, flour, rice, powered milk, cigarillos, frozen chickens, lentils and olive oil.

A licence for the import of fruits, vegetables, certain chemicals, medicines, some foodstuffs and telecommunications equipment is required. Some products also require a licence from various public organisations. The shipment of meat and any product of animal origin for export to Jordan must be accompanied by a halal certificate, with the exception of pork and pork products. The Halal Certificate may be issued and signed by any national recognised Islamic association/institution, showing the date of slaughtering. The sign logo should be an original label from the producing establishment in the country of origin for mass packaging (industrial use) and for each individual retail package. Any added labels will not be acceptable.

Export Documents required – EC, USA

Goods in free circulation shipped from the European Community (EC) to Jordan require the following original documents.

– Commercial Invoice. The invoice should include the following declaration
“We certify that this invoice is true and correct and that the goods are exclusively of … origin.” All invoices should show the quantity, type and numbers of goods as well as their weight, values, and the names of the buyer and seller. Although samples are exempt from customs duty their value must not exceed 10 Jordanian Dinar excluding transport costs.

– Transport documents such as a Bill of Lading (coming in through the port of Aqaba) or Airway Bill (usually imported through Queen Alia International airport). If the goods have transited Arab countries which are not neighbours of Jordan, then a declaration of Arab transit is also required.

– EUR1 Movement Certificate certifying goods are of EC origin. The EUR1 form entitles originating UK or EU goods to lower import duties, usually zero. This is a Movement Certificate and entitles goods which ‘originate’ in the UK or EU to received preferential import duty treatment when shipped to Jordan.

The customer may also require an Arab/British Certificate of Origin certified by the local Chamber of Commerce. It is a good idea to check with the Chamber who is responsible for this certification whether they will certify both a Certificate of Origin and a EUR1 for the same shipment. In some countries (e.g. Turkey) the Chamber of Commerce will not issue both certificates for the same shipment.

– Packing List

– If required, Import licence and Phytosanitary and Health certificates. Meat and poultry require a certificate issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries certifying that the products have not been treated with hormones.

– If any documents need Power of Attorney, this requires Notary and must be signed in front of the Notary. Then the document must be apostilled by the Foreign Commonwealth Office before legalising the document. This is a separate charge on top of the certification and legalisation fees.

Goods shipped from the USA to Jordan require the following original documents. Please note that the US has a free trade agreement with Jordan.

– Commercial invoice (certified by US-Arab Chamber of Commerce and, in some cases legalised by the Jordanian embassy/consulate). All invoices should show the quantity, type and numbers of goods as well as their weight, values, and the names of the buyer and seller.

This document may also sometimes require an Arabic translation (if written in English) and should also bear a notarized affidavit
“I, (name, title and name of company), hereby swear that the prices stated in this invoice are the current export market prices for the merchandise described, that the products being shipped are of US origin and that they have been manufactured in the United States. I accept full responsibility for any inaccuracies therein. (Signature)”

If the products being shipped contain any foreign components, the country of origin and percentage of foreign content in the goods must be indicated on the invoice.

– Certificate of Origin (certified by US-Arab Chamber of Commerce and, in some cases legalised by the Jordanian embassy/consulate. A general Certificate of Origin is acceptable in most cases, but it is a good idea to check with the Chamber of Commerce first that they will accept the form and wording suggested.

From April 13th 2010 Jordan no longer offers legalization services for Export documents such as Commercial invoices, Certificate of Origin or Packing Lists) that a issued for World Trade Organisation (WTO) members. This is a direct result of Jordan becoming a member of the WTO. However, exporters must obtain a certification from the NUSACC (National United States-Arab Chamber of Commerce).

– Transport document such as an Airway bill or Bill of Lading coming in through the port of Aqaba.
– Packing List.

There are some products which come under the non-tariff controls that require the importer in Jordan to have an importer’s card and import licence. Such importers must be registered with the Jordanian Ministry of Industry and Trade and the local Jordanian Chamber of Commerce.
*Information provided by the International Trade Administration, Trade Information Centre.

Please note that all the information in this article is for general guidance only and that document requirements can change constantly.  It is therefore very important to check with all the relevant authorities which documents (and statements on documents) are currently required before issuing any such documents and/or entering into any contract agreements.

Maria Narancic from Point to Point Export Services is an independent international trade adviser who assists organisations world wide with their international trade projects, documentation, Documentary Credits and import/export training.  She is based in the United Kingdom.  If you require any further assistance with the matters mentioned above, please do contact us by e-mail on info@point-point.com or check out other articles on International Trade on the Point to Point Export Services website at www.point-point.com.

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