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"Japanese Investments In Jordan: Opportunities & Future Prospects"

The Jordan Strategy Forum (JSF) in coordination with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and the Jordanian embassy in Tokyo last Wednesday held a discussion session entitiled: "Japanese Investments in Jordan: Opportunities & Future Prospects", sponsored by "Shams Maan".

The session titled “Japanese Investments In Jordan: Opportunities and Future Prospects” discussed the findings of a 2021 survey conducted by the JETRO on the business conditions of Japanese companies in the Middle East.

Discussing the JSF’s principal objectives, JSF Chairman Abdelelah Khatib said that the JSF seeks to “position Jordan in the right place to be an attractive destination for investors”.

According to Khatib, the JSF is “keen” to continue to work on enhancing investment and business cooperation between Jordan and Japan.

To overcome its economic challenges, Jordan must achieve real economic growth, JSF CEO Nesreen Barakat said during the event.

Joining virtually via the online conferencing platform, Zoom, Jordan’s Ambassador to Japan Lina Annab underlined the “solid bilateral ties” Jordan has with Japan and the partnerships that have evolved throughout the years.

The ambassador pointed out that there is “great potential” to strengthen cooperation between the countries, given the current trading landscape.

“Bilateral trade is quite modest and is concentrated on minerals and raw materials from Jordan, and on machinery and automobiles from Japan,” Annab said.

The latest figures show that in 2021 imports from Japan to Jordan amounted to almost $400 million, while exports from Jordan to Japan were around $15 million, she said.

In closing, Annab emphasised the importance of expanding the areas of investment and moving to wider scopes of cooperation between Jordan and Japan.

In terms of economic and investment relations between the countries, an agreement for the promotion and protection of investment was signed in November 2018, which came into effect in 2020, Japan’s Ambassador to Jordan Shimazaki Kaoru said.

In 2021, there were 20 branches of Japanese companies operating in Amman which were mainly investing in infrastructure products, according to Kaoru.

“There is still room for further development and cooperation,” Kaoru said.

Presenting the latest findings of the survey, Fukuyama Toyokazu, the JETRO’s managing director in Cairo, said that in Jordan, 61.5 per cent of the Japanese companies in 2020 reported that the social and political stability in the country are advantages of the investment environment.

However, 63.6 per cent of these companies said that market scale and growth potential are regarded to be challenges of investment in Jordan.

Additionally, Toyokazu touched on topics related to Japanese companies’ operating profit forecast, future business development and the investment environment in the Middle East.

Speaking during the session, Chief Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) indicated that the Kingdom’s free trade agreements are considered crucial.

Furthermore, ITOCHU Corporation CEO Wajdi Gussous, noted that “we try to promote Jordan as a regional hub for investment and trade”.