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Jordan and New Zealand have a warm relationship based largely on our commercial links. Relations at the political level have tended to be limited but Jordan remains a key player in the Middle East.
New Zealand exports to Jordan for the year to December 2005 were worth NZ$72.514 million, and were comprised mainly of dairy products, sheep meat and fish fillets. Imports for the same period were NZ$1.774 million (principally fertilisers and other chemical products).
Jordan has been a reliable market for New Zealand food commodities, particularly meat and dairy products, including whole milk powder, cheese and butter. The implementation of an electronic certification system (for issuing export certificates) at the Port of Aqaba in Jordan will be significant in overcoming bureaucratic barriers to trade for New Zealand products. The New Zealand Honorary Consul in Amman is Makram Qubain.
Commercial opportunities in Jordan are growing, especially with Jordan’s membership of the WTO, the expansion of its free trade zones and the signing of a US/Jordan FTA. New Zealand and Jordan have recently concluded a memorandum of understanding on sanitary and phytosanitary measures affecting trade in food. This is a positive step in the development of closer trade relations with Jordan. Although New Zealand companies are facing increased competition in their traditional trade, Jordan’s focus on modernisation and reform is opening up new opportunities in the services sector, particularly for consultancy work.
Jordan sees New Zealand as a small, modern Western country and, as demonstrated by the visit of Minister for Post and Communications in 2001, H.E. Dr Fawaz Zu’bi, it is interested in benefiting from NZ’s experience in public sector reform, e-government and developments in the education, telecommunications and banking sectors.
Land Area - 91, 860 sq km
Population - 5.5 million (2003 EIU estimate) Arab 98%, Circassian 1%, Armenian 1%.
Capital City - Amman
Religion - Sunni Muslim 93%, Christian 8%
Language - Arabic (English widely spoken among upper and middle class).
Political system - Constitutional Monarchy
National government - Council of Ministers headed by a Prime Minister who is appointed by the King. This Council is responsible to a directly elected Chamber of Deputies.
National legislature - Bicameral national legislature comprising a directly elected chamber of deputies (110 members) and a Senate (40 members) appointed by the King.
Last election - 17 June 2003
Next election due - By the end of 2007
Head of State - HM King Abdullah II bin Hussein al Hashemi
Head of Government - Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit (also Minister of Defence)
GDP - US$12.3 billion (2005 EIU estimate)
Real GDP growth - 6.1% (2005 EIU estimate)
Exports - US$4.284 billion (2005 EIU estimate)
Imports - US$9.305 billion (2005 EIU estimate)
Main exports - Manufactured goods (US$1.408 billion); chemicals (US$0.731 billion); food and live animals (US$0.283 billion) - 2004 actuals
Current account balance - -US$1.509 billion (2005 EIU estimate)
Inflation - 3.7% (2005 EIU estimate)
Gross external debt - US$8.5 billion (2005 EIU estimate)
NZ Exports (FOB) - NZ$46.15 million (for year ended December 2008)
Main Exports - Meat of sheep or goats (41%), milk and cream (41%), cheese and curd (5%)
NZ Imports (CIF) - NZ$724,977 million (for year ended December 2008)
Main Imports - Fertilizers (50%); Motor Vehicles (11%); nitrates (10%); monumental or building stone (9%)
The Governor General, Hon Dame Cartwright, visited Jordan in June 2004. In April 2005, HRH Prince Feisal Bin Al-Hussein, brother of the King of Jordan visited New Zealand.
In August 2001, Jordan’s Minister for Post and Communications, HE Dr Fawaz Zu’bi, accompanied by HH Al Shareef Abdullah Ben Zaid Hussain from the Economic Unit of the Royal Court, visited as a Guest of Government. The Minister was hosted by the Minister for State Owned Enterprises, Hon Mark Burton.
In May 2000 three Members of the New Zealand Parliament attended the Inter-Parliamentary Union Conference in Amman. In April 2000 Jordanian officials visited to examine New Zealand’s approach to agriculture and sanitary standards.
Two members of the Royal family have visited New Zealand: Princess Alia visited Auckland in 2000, while in October 1997 Princess Rahma Bint El Hassan visited Wellington.
The Minister for Trade Negotiations, Hon Philip Burton, was the first New Zealand Minister to visit Jordan. This was in May 1995.
The Safetravel website provides a travel advisory for travellers to Jordan [external link].