Jordan and Israel Initial First Economic Agreement
JERUSALEM (AP) _ Israel and Jordan concluded an economic agreement Tuesday permitting Jordan to export $30 million worth of goods to the occupied West Bank.
The agreement, reached during negotiations at the Dead Sea, says the exports will go through Palestinian merchants, who must acquire permits from the Palestinian Authority controlling the Palestinian self-rule areas.
Jordanian products were banned from the Israeli-occupied territories after the 1967 Middle East war. Israeli products have also been banned from Jordan, but many were sold there through third parties.
Arieh Zeiff, director general of Israel’s Customs Authority and a negotiator with the Jordanians, said the two sides initialed the agreement Tuesday.
The agreement paves the way for an end to the Jordanian boycott of Israeli goods, Zeiff said. Israeli industrialists will meet with their Jordanian counterparts later this month to close business deals, he said.
″The significance of this agreement is that it determines an interim stage in advance of a permanent trade agreement which will be signed as part of a peace treaty,″ Zeiff told The Associated Press.
On July 25, King Hussein and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signed a declaration ending the 46-year state of belligerency between their two countries, and a formal peace treaty is expected to follow.
The exports are restricted to goods produced in Jordan and will only be allowed in areas of the West Bank still occupied by Israel and outside Palestinian self-rule. So far, Jericho is the only autonomous area in the West Bank, but Palestinians hope self-rule will spread to other areas as well.
The Jordanians and the Palestinians have yet to complete their own trade agreement.
Fayez Tarawneh, the chief Jordanian negotiator, told the Jordanian state- run Petra News Agency that the $30 million ceiling could be raised in 1995, pending further discussions with the Israelis.
Tarawneh said Israel had left it up to Jordan and Palestinian merchants to decide on the quantity and kinds of commodities to be exported to the West Bank.