Jordan`s multiplicity of free trade agreements (FTAs) has created a vehicle for both national economic development and greater integration into the global economy. In 1997, King Hussein signed the Large-scale Free Trade Agreement (GAFTA), which is the first in a series of trade agreements. During the 2000s, Jordan signed more than seven free trade agreements, making its economy one of the most open in the Middle East. These developments reflect the Kingdom`s commitment to the policy of economic liberalization and its efforts to establish stronger political relations through trade diplomacy. In 2004, Jordan signed the Agadir Agreement with Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia. This has forced all parties to remove all tariffs on trade between them and to harmonize their legislation on customs standards and procedures. The Agadir agreement came into force in July 2006 and is implemented by the Agadir technical unit in Amman. While Jordan`s trade relations with the United States are strong, the kingdom has been actively committed to further integration into the regional economy. GAFTA is part of efforts to strengthen economic cooperation between the 22 Arab League member states. The agreement entered into force in its entirety in 2005 and resulted in numerous exemptions from customs duties and taxes. GAFTA significantly increased Jordan`s trade relations with neighbouring countries in 2014 and the volume of trade with GAFTA members amounted to JD 7.53 billion ($10.59 billion). While the Jordanian government has tried to right its image in response to criticism from workers` and human rights groups, it has also sealed agreements with other nations. It has free trade agreements with the EU, as part of the Barcelona, EFTA, Palestine and Syria processes.
It signed a free trade agreement with Singapore in 2004 and with Canada in 2008 (which has yet to be ratified). In 2010, it signed a four-way agreement with Syria, Turkey and Lebanon. The free trade agreement applies to trade in industrial products, fish and seafood products and processed agricultural products. In addition, bilateral agricultural agreements have been concluded between the various EFTA countries and Jordan, which are part of the free trade area`s creation instruments. One of the objectives of the agreement (Article 1) is to promote the harmonious development of economic relations between the parties through the extension of reciprocal trade. Until 2014, virtually all tariffs on trade in industrial products, fish and other seafood were abolished.