Fact Sheet: United States and Jordan Sign Historic Free Trade Agreement (10/24/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                                          October 24,


Today President Clinton and King Abdullah II witnessed the signing of an
historic Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the United States and the
Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The agreement will eliminate duties and
commercial barriers to bilateral trade in goods and services originating in
the United States and Jordan.  The agreement will benefit both countries by
opening markets and creating new opportunities for businesses, working
people and farmers in Jordan and the United States.

This agreement comes as a result of the impressive steps Jordan has taken
under King Abdullah?s leadership to modernize its economy and to open its
markets to foreign investors.  It also is a tribute to the courageous role
Jordan has played over the past several years to promote stability and
peace in the region.

This is only the fourth free trade agreement the United States has
negotiated, after those with Israel, Canada and Mexico (NAFTA), and the
first ever with an Arab state.  It is also the first U.S. free trade
agreement to include both labor and environment obligations in the body of
the text.

The agreement?s specific provisions are:

?    Tariff elimination.  The FTA will eliminate virtually all tariffs on
industrial goods and farm products within ten years.  The tariff reductions
will occur in four stages:  Current tariffs of less than five percent will
be phased out in two years, those that are now between five and 10 percent
will be eliminated within four years, those that are now between 10 and 20
percent will be eliminated within five years and those that are now more
than 20 percent will be eliminated within 10 years.

?    Services.  The FTA will open the Jordanian services market to U.S.
companies, giving American service providers full access to more than half
of the Jordanian services sector and providing excellent opportunities in
key sectors, including finance, telecommunications and courier services.

?    Intellectual Property Rights.  These provisions incorporate the most
up-to-date international standards for copyright protection, including
prospects for technology-based industries, copyright-based industries and
pharmaceutical companies.  In addition, Jordan has committed to ratify and
implement the World Intellectual Property Organization?s Copyright Treaty
and Performances and Phonograms Treaty within two years.  These two
treaties, sometimes referred to as the ?Internet Treaties,? establish
several critical elements for the protection of copyrighted works in a
digital network environment, including creators? exclusive rights to make
their works available online.

?    Electronic Commerce.  Jordan and the United States have each committed
to promoting a liberalized trade environment for electronic commerce that
should encourage investment in new technologies and stimulate the
innovative uses of networks to deliver products and services.  Both
countries have agreed to seek to avoid imposing customs duties on
electronic transmissions ?- which constitute unnecessary barriers to market
access for digitized products and impede the ability to deliver services
through electronic means.

?    Labor Provisions.  For the first time in the text of a U.S. free trade
agreement, the Jordan FTA includes key provisions that address the
relationship between trade and labor in ensuring broad participation in the
benefits of expanded trade.  These provisions stipulate that each country
will enforce its own labor laws and not lower labor standards to promote
trade.  Each side has agreed to settle disagreements on trade-related labor
law enforcement through a dispute settlement process.

?    Environmental Provisions. For the first time in the body of a U.S.
free trade agreement, the Jordan FTA includes provisions on trade and the
environment.  As in the case of labor, each country agrees to enforce its
environmental laws effectively as they relate to trade. Each side has
agreed to settle disagreements on trade-related environmental law
enforcement through a dispute settlement process. The United States and
Jordan have both conducted environmental reviews of the FTA and have also
expanded environmental cooperation outside the scope of the FTA through a
new U.S.-Jordanian Joint Forum on Technical Environmental Cooperation.
This is the first agreement subject to environmental review under Executive
Order 13141 -- requiring environmental review of all major new trade

?    Consultation and Dispute Settlement.  The FTA provides for dispute
settlement panels to issue legal interpretations of the FTA, if the
countries have already consulted and failed to resolve the dispute.  As in
the U.S.-Israel FTA, the report of such panels is non-binding and the
affected country is authorized to take appropriate measures after the
termination of the dispute settlement process if the matter remains
unresolved.  In addition, the parties have agreed to unprecedented
transparency provisions for any disputes that might arise between the
United States and Jordan in the WTO.

Previous Agreements

The agreement builds on other U.S. initiatives in the region that are
designed to encourage economic development and regional integration,

?    The 1996 extension of the U.S.-Israel Free Trade Agreement to areas
administered by the Palestinian Authority.

?    The 1996 creation of Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZ), which are areas
under joint Israeli and Jordanian control whose exports are eligible for
duty-free treatment in the United States.  The QIZ program was initiated by
President Clinton in 1996.

?    The United States has also signed Trade and Investment Framework
Agreements with Turkey (2000), Egypt (1999), Jordan (1999) and Morocco

?    The United States has encouraged membership in the World Trade
Organization for nations in the region and facilitated the recent entries
into the WTO of Jordan and Oman.

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