Instability in the region continues to seriously disrupt Jordan’s trade with its neighbors. Exports from Jordan’s free zones to the Iraqi market, which usually accounts for 60 to 65 percent, have plunged to 20 percent since July as IS militants wreacked havoc across the country, the President of the Free Zone Investors Commission Nabeel Romman said.
The closure of the Karama border crossing has stopped the monthly flow of around 8,000 vehicles, valued at $80 million, from Jordan into Iraq. Only very essential products are being exported through Basra borders after crossing Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, a process that is four times as costly, Romman said.
Continued violence in Libya and Syria has also impacted exports, with Syria blocking access to Lebanese and European markets as well. According to Romman, the longer the instability continues, the more losses will be incurred, not just on merchants, but on the economy as a whole. He noted that 10 percent of Jordan’s export workforce lost their jobs over the summer.
Apart from attempting to find safer routes, Romman’s commission is also trying to increase trade with other neighboring countries, mainly the Gulf and Egypt.
Although recent Department of Statistics figures show that Iraq accounted for 17.4 percent of Jordan’s total exports during the first half of the year, informed sources said that exports dropped by 20 to 30 percent during the last two months due to security-related issues.