Jordanian-Canadian relations will reach a new level when the free trade agreement (FTA) between them goes effective in October, Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said Saturday.
Speaking at a joint press conference in Ottawa with Canadian International Trade Minister Ed Fast, Judeh said the FTA will add a new chapter to the relationship between the Kingdom and Canada, stressing Jordan’s commitment to abide by the agreement.
The FTA exempts Jordanian products from customs duties and helps increase the volume of investments between the two countries, he said, adding that the agreement will also open new markets for Jordanian products.
At the press conference, Fast noted that the FTA with Jordan is the first to be signed with an Arab country, stressing that his country perceives the Kingdom as an integral and important partner in the region.
Earlier on Saturday, the two ministers discussed bilateral cooperation in the fields of economy and trade, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
They underlined the need to abide by the FTA and raise the trade volume between their two countries, stressing the advantage of Jordan’s geographical location as an economic and trade gate to the region.
Fast is scheduled to visit Jordan next month, during which he will meet a number of officials to discuss economic cooperation.
During his visit to Canada, Judeh also attended part of a Canadian parliament session.
Also Saturday, Judeh met with his Canadian counterpart John Baird and discussed the Syrian crisis, the Middle East peace process and the latest regional developments, Petra reported.
The two diplomats reiterated calls for finding a political solution to the crisis in Syria to end the violence and bloodshed.
Judeh highlighted the repercussions of the Syrian crisis and its effect on Jordan.
Discussions covered the large number of Syrian refugees who escaped from their country, imposing a “huge” burden on the Kingdom’s already scarce resources.
Judeh voiced his appreciation for Canada’s continued support to Jordan, citing the $6.5 million it has provided to the Kingdom in aid to continue its humanitarian role towards the Syrian refugees.
Talks also covered the Middle East peace process and the need for the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations to resume.
The ministers called on the international community to shoulder its responsibility in encouraging the revival of peace talk to arrive at the two-state solution through the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital based on the related international resolutions.
Judeh reiterated that the Palestinian cause will remain Jordan’s “core” cause and the “essence” of the regional conflict.
For his part, Baird underscored Canada’s appreciation of Jordan’s “pivotal” role on the regional level to restore stability, in addition to its way in dealing with the Syrian crisis by hosting large numbers of Syrians despite the economic hardships it is going through.