The US-Jordan free trade agreement: benign or malign for the economic development of Jordan?
thesisposted on 29.03.2022, 03:18 authored by Khaled Khwaileh
The United States (US) and Jordan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has significantly affected the Jordanian economy and society in both positive and negative ways. It has been a new player in the Jordanian economic order against the backdrop of Jordan's economic crisis and high unemployment, but it has failed to yield the promised economic benefits. Indeed, the legality of unfair and ambiguous clauses of the FTA has raised significant debate, and many critics view the FTA as a tool to advance foreign policy and promote the geostrategic interests of the US in the Middle East. This thesis analyses the effects of the US-Jordan FTA to identify economic changes in Jordan's economy. It examines the economic rationales of the parties for free trade, the economic effects of the FTA on Jordan and the extra-economic considerations that led the parties to sign the FTA. Further, this study identifies clauses of the US-Jordan FTA for possible amendments with the aim of minimising adverse effects and maximising economy-wide benefits for Jordan. The proposed reforms will considerably improve economic gains and benefit Jordanian trade policy-makers, strategists and negotiators by enhancing their understanding of the pitfalls, challenges and opportunities presented by the FTA. For example, the reforms will reduce poverty, increase health services, improve education and create an overall positive effect on the economy. In a wider context, this research will provide insights to government and non-government agencies of other countries that want to pursue preferential bilateral FTAs as a vehicle for their economic development.