The recent Pathfinder Trade Mission to Amman, Jordan, reconfirmed the long-held view that Jordan is continuing its role as one of the most open economies in the Middle East. The longstanding and close relationship between the Kingdom of Jordan and the UK, puts British businesses in a distinctly advantageous position. The entrepreneurial flair of the Jordanian businessmen, which reaches out far beyond the Kingdom, makes Jordan an ideal market for British traders and exporters seeking to develop their business with the Middle East.

A key advantage of Jordan is that it has become a major hub for trade with Iraq by utilising the port of Aqaba, as well as its own well-served airports. Most of the largest Iraqi companies have established their bases in Amman, an ideal location for UK companies to connect with Iraq.

The Trade Mission was received by HMA Edward Oakden, who met the delegates along with his staff. The delegates were given a thorough commercial and political overview, particularly covering the markets of not only Jordan but Iraq along with the potential for rebuilding Syria. Key areas for UK-Jordan local trade are medical and pharmaceutical products, road vehicles and industrial machinery as well as electrical machinery, food stuffs, clothing and luxury goods.  ICT in healthcare is a growing area of expansion particularly in outsourcing, telecommunications and E-health. All delegates received a warmed-up list of contacts organised by the British Embassy to peruse as well as their own private contacts.

On the energy front, Jordan’s energy sector is rapidly developing to meet Government targets with the aim of reducing the country’s reliance on external energy sources and introducing more widespread use of renewables in energy, with plans to develop the refined products sector to make the Kingdom an important location for regional energy integration, with further plans for a nuclear power facility by 2020.

Jordan is key in the region for the development of education and training where some British universities, such as Lancaster University and other specialist organisations like the Inspirational Development Group (specialising in leadership and youth development), have become well-established in Amman.

The delegation were also received by the Jordan Chamber of Commerce who confirmed the UK as a good friend. Meetings were held with the Iraqi Chamber of Commerce who would welcome more British enquiries on opportunities particularly in the oil, infrastructure and logistics areas.

The Trade Mission has identified Jordan as a country worth doing business with and we will be returning to Jordan in 2018, with a particular emphasis on Iraq, so a visit to Aqaba is also on the cards for delegates.