Given that Jordan does not posses a wealth of natural resources like the oil-rich countries in the Gulf and does not have a very wide industrial base, it has been plagued with trade deficits since its creation. The situation has worsened as the food gap in the country widens, and more and more food has to be imported. The past 4 governments have attempted to address this issue by promoting exports and tightening imports. The dinar was de-valued in 1991, which made Jordanian products cheaper on the international markets and foreign imports more expensive. The Gulf War also helped to boost exports as regional demand exploded in the aftermath of the war,
|Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Jordan|
|SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.|
notably in the pharmaceutical industry. Jordan's principal export markets are Saudi Arabia and Iraq, the former an important market for pharmaceuticals and consumer goods and the latter an important market for out-of-season vegetables and fruit. Jordan's phosphates, potash, and fertilizers are bought by the Indians, the Chinese, and the Indonesians. As the Asian economies recover from their devastating 1997 financial crisis, demand is growing rapidly again. In spite of this positive growth, however, average annual imports cost twice as much as the revenues from exports. In 2000 Jordan exported US$2 billion worth of goods, but imported US$4 billion worth of goods, producing a trade deficit of US$2 billion.
In 1999, about 21.6 percent of Jordanian imports originated from Iraq (mostly oil), 9.9 percent from the United States, 9.7 percent from Germany, and 4.7 from the United Kingdom. The country imports most of its consumer goods from South Korea, Turkey, and China, and Saudi Arabia provides it with the bulk of its processed food.