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Tech Firms Meet With Jordan’s King

October 14, 1999

VIENNA, Va. (AP) _ Hoping to jump start his nation’s fledgling high-tech industry, Jordan’s King Abdullah II met Wednesday with executives from some of the top U.S. technology companies.

Abdullah said he is implementing policies that will make Jordan accessible and inviting to American firms, but he added that he and his nation have much to learn.

``We’re at the beginning,″ he said during an informal discussion with more than a dozen executives from northern Virginia’s booming high-tech sector, including America Online and PSInet. ``Let’s do it right from the start.″

He asked the executives to visit with him again in Jordan, where he could convene Jordanian businessmen ``so we can all sit down together.″

George Vrandenburg, senior vice president for AOL, told Abdullah that Jordan, because of its political stability and openness to the West, could become the business hub for the region.

The king agreed, saying a poor economy is one of his nation’s top problems.

He said his country has a highly educated and skilled work force, but one with low wages. A university graduate with a high-tech degree makes about $250 per month _ more than a major in the country’s military.

Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., organized the meeting with officials from Lucent Technologies, GTE and others. Afterward, he praised Abdullah’s government as ``very pro-business″ and said Jordan’s intellectual property protections should alleviate any concerns U.S. businessmen may have about such things as software piracy.

Abdullah, 37, is in the United States after eight months on the throne, following the death of his father King Hussein. He met Tuesday with President Clinton.

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