A High Value Visit

India’s Ambassador to Jordan said his President’s recent visit to the Kingdom crowns efforts to significantly boost trade between the two countries.

By Jane Hosking

Following the high profile visit of India’s President Pranab Mukherjee to Jordan last month, plans have been unveiled to ramp up annual bilateral trade between the two countries from $2 to $5 billion over the coming decade.

India’s Ambassador to Jordan Anil Trigunayat said the plan proves how valuable an economic partner Jordan is becoming to his country.

Where do Jordan and India’s trade relations currently stand?

Jordan is an important geostrategic partner for us, both in terms of political security as well as in trade and economic engagement. We are the fourth largest trading partner of Jordan and we are probably the largest investor at the moment. Our bilateral trade last year exceeded over $2 billion and our overall investment, both in phosphates, textiles, IT and other sectors has increased to about $1.5 billion.

How do you aim to increase bilateral trade to $5 billion annually?

To achieve this, there were many initiatives that were agreed upon during the President’s visit. One of the most significant of these was the announcement that a line of credit worth $100 million for promoting trade and investment would be made available to both Jordanian and Indian companies for investment in Jordan. We also signed an MoU in IT cooperation, which will further enhance our bilateral engagement in this sector, and we’re looking at increasing our focus more on pharmaceuticals, tourism, health tourism, and medical equipment. In addition to this, we’ve decided that we’ll soon have two other business-to-business mechanisms. The first is an Indo-Jordan business forum, which will bring CEOs from both countries together in the first quarter of next year. Then we will have the joint business council between the two countries. Because at the end of the day it’s the businessmen who do the business and the governments are there to create the right environment and facilitation mechanisms.

India is a big buyer of Jordan’s phosphates. What was achieved in regards to this during the visit?

Phosphates are the largest export of Jordan to India. We import more than 65 to 70 percent of Jordan’s phosphate, which this year has already increased substantially. During the visit, both the leaders, HM King Abdullah and President Mukherjee inaugurated the $860 million Jordan India Fertilizer Company plant, located in southern Jordan. This is a flagship of our mutual cooperation.

What other growth opportunities do you expect to see in trade relations between the two countries in the future?

I believe that Jordan can play a very significant role in India’s food and energy security. Food security because we need fertilizers and Jordan is a major phosphate producer. Secondly, Jordan also has a lot of potential for us in terms of energy security because it has the forth-largest deposits of shale oil in the world and India is also an energy deficient country like Jordan. In recent years, the interest in shale oil has been diminished to some extent because of the lower prices of conventional oil, which has meant there hasn’t been a great deal of investments in this sector. But conventional sources of energy have a limited lifespan, so sooner or later we’ll have to focus on renewables and on shale.