Jordan to cut pulse, feed, beef tariffs in FTA

Canada’s producers of pulse crops, livestock feed and frozen french fries may see an end soon to tariffs between 10 and 30 per cent on exports to Jordan, once a free trade agreement (FTA) with that kingdom gets final government approval.

International Trade Minister Stockwell Day on Sunday announced the official signing of the legal text of a Canada/Jordan FTA, along with related agreements on labour co-operation and the environment, as well as a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement (FIPA).

Day and his Jordanian counterpart, Industry and Trade Minister Amer Hadidi, signed the agreements in Amman.

In a release Sunday, the federal government noted that Jordan in February fully reopened its market to Canadian beef and cattle after closing its borders to them in 2003. But the FTA, it said, will give Canadian beef producers “competitive advantages” in Jordan, a market that the Canadian Beef Export Federation has estimated to be worth $1 million.

The FTA is also expected to contribute to Jordan’s economic development by creating new markets for its exports in Canada. Imports from Jordan to Canada totalled $15 million in 2008, led by apparel, fertilizer and agricultural products.

Canada said it will also eliminate all tariffs on Jordanian goods immediately upon entry into force of the FTA, except for Ottawa’s over-quota tariffs on imports of dairy, poultry and eggs. Those supply-managed products, the Canadian government said, are “excluded from tariff reductions.”

The FTA and related agreements are now to be tabled in the House of Commons for a period of 21 sitting days, for members of Parliament to review and debate them.

After the 21-day period, the government said, it will table legislation to implement the agreements, as necessary.

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