Trade hopes rise as main Jordan-Syria border crossing reopens for business

Police officers check cars at Jaber border crossing with Syria, near Mafraq, Jordan, September 29, 2021.(Reuters)

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  • Two countries hope to restore $1 billion-a-year level from before civil war

ARAB NEWS September 29, 2021 


Jordan fully reopened its main border crossing with Syria on Wednesday in a move aimed at boosting the two countries’ struggling economies.

Syrian trucks waited to enter Jordan at the Jaber border crossing and taxis carrying passengers lined up to pass through customs and immigration control.

“The security situation is now stable on the Syrian side and we hope it remains stable,” said crossing operations chief Col. Moayad Al-Zubi.

The crossing had reopened in 2018 after the Assad regime drove opposition forces from the south, but the COVID-19 pandemic led to measures being imposed to curb transmission of the virus.

Syria hopes wider business links with its southern neighbor will help it recover from a decade of war.

“The aim of these understandings is to boost trade exchange between the two countries to achieve the interests of every party,” said Jordanian Trade and Industry Minister Maha Al-Ali.

Jordan and Syria hope mutual trade will return to its $1 billion pre-war level.

Jordanian officials said a visiting trade delegation from Syria, led by economy, trade, agriculture, water and electricity ministers, would discuss lifting tariff barriers.

Businessmen from Jordan had largely avoided dealing with Syria after the US 2019 Caesar Act imposed tough sanctions that prohibited foreign companies trading with Damascus.

Officials in Jordan and Lebanon have urged the US to ease sanctions on Syria.

“We now are feeling there is a US move to give a bigger space for Jordanian businessmen to deal with Syria,” said Jamal Al-Refai, vice chairman of the Jordan Chamber of Commerce.

Andre Bank, senior research fellow and Syria expert in the German Institute for Global and Area Studies think tank, said the full reopening of the border crossing was a gain for Bashar Assad.

“It is another important step in the regional normalization of the Assad regime,” he said.

Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt reached agreement this month for Egyptian natural gas to be sent to Lebanon via Syria using a pipeline built about 20 years ago in an Arab cooperation project.


1 reply

  1. Reminds me of a couple of things.

    One funny incident: I was on the way from Amman to Beirut in 2006 during the Israel-Lebanon war, When reaching the Jordan/Syria border I noticed that instead of my own passport I had put my daughter’s passport in my pocket. Well, thanks to mobile phone I could call my driver in Amman to go to my house and fetch my passport. (We went to town for lunch in the meantime).

    Ah, politics. The Syrians will have to forget that in the recent past the Jordanians (by order of USA) assisted the Syrian opposition, I visited a hospital in Amman treating Syrian Islamist fighters. One doctor said ‘look at this leg, a few months ago I treated this healed wound and now he is here already again with a new one’. Hospital bills paid by Qatar. Strange politics.

    Yes, better just to trade peacefully. Syrian goods were always welcome in Jordan.

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