x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Jordan stability attracts Syrians

The continuing turmoil in Syria has led to greater interest in Jordan as an alternative base of operations, according to a government official.

The continuing turmoil in Syria has led to greater interest in Jordan as an alternative base of operations, according to a government official.

The head of the development and free zones commission (DFZC) has noted a rise in the number of Syrian companies registering their businesses in the country.

"Despite what is happening in the Arab Spring and the whole region, Jordan proved it is quite stable and we are still receiving foreign direct investment (FDI) from all over the world," said Amer Majali, the chief commissioner of the DFZC in Jordan. "Most of them are from Syria and we are also receiving requests from Turkish and Iraqi companies as well as US, Europe and China."

FDI in Jordan fell by 40 per cent in 2011 as the kingdom endured its own share of protests.

While the country has had greater stability by comparison to most of its neighbours, it has still faced some political difficulties.

While successful elections held last month fuel hopes that the country is moving towards calm, the polls were boycotted by Islamist candidates and the Muslim Brotherhood has resisted participating in the formation of the new government, according to the Petra News Agency. Any future discontent may dampen investor interest.

However, overall growth in the number of companies registering in Jordan's free zones rose 7 per cent last year, spurred on mainly by tourism and technology companies, said Mr Majali.

Tourism companies alone grew by 12 per cent to take advantage of the country's natural and religious sites, while the IT sector registered 6 per cent growth.

New international companies setting up offices in Jordan include Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Samsung and LG.

The commission is offering a 5 per cent income tax incentive and exemption from all other taxes to companies that set up in the free zones.

 

thamid@thenational.ae