While the Jordanian government has tried to right its image in response to criticism from workers` and human rights groups, it has also sealed agreements with other nations. It has free trade agreements with the EU, as part of the Barcelona, EFTA, Palestine and Syria processes. It signed a free trade agreement with Singapore in 2004 and with Canada in 2008 (which has yet to be ratified). In 2010, it signed a four-way agreement with Syria, Turkey and Lebanon. The accumulation of origin means that a product can be processed from a partner country or can be added to a product from another partner country, but can nevertheless be considered a “product of origin” of that second partner country for the purpose of a specific trade agreement. Jordan`s multiplicity of free trade agreements (FTAs) has created a vehicle for both national economic development and greater integration into the global economy. In 1997, King Hussein signed the Large-scale Free Trade Agreement (GAFTA), which is the first in a series of trade agreements. During the 2000s, Jordan signed more than seven free trade agreements, making its economy one of the most open in the Middle East. These developments reflect the Kingdom`s commitment to the policy of economic liberalization and its efforts to establish stronger political relations through trade diplomacy.
The Iraqi market is particularly important for Jordanian exporters. Jordan is a natural gateway for goods destined for Iraq and the port city of the Kingdom of Aqaba has played an important role in transporting goods to the country. However, recent unrest in the region has weighed on bilateral trade, increased security risks and transportation costs for truck drivers crossing Iraq`s Anbar province and disrupted traffic. According to the Ministry of Statistics, Jordanian exports to Iraq fell by 17.5% in the first two months of 2015, from $186.57 million to USD 154 million. In addition, the volume of bilateral trade decreased by more than 26% between 2013 and 2014, compared with JD 1.14 billion ($1.6 billion) to 833 million JD ($1.17 billion). The Kingdom of Jordan signed a major free trade agreement with the United States in 2000, a strategic agreement for the United States. However, one of the best documented effects of this agreement was the poor working conditions of migrant workers working in U.S. factories.
The parties agree to apply their plant health and non-discriminatory rules and not to apply new measures that excessively impede trade.