Jordan is experiencing a state visit from Turkey this week. On Tuesday, President Abdullah Gul was welcomed by King Abdullah II and Queen Rania to Amman.
The main purpose of Gul’s visit is to launch a free trade deal with the Hashemite Kingdom, something both countries have been working on since 2005. The Prime Ministers of Jordan and Turkey agreed the deal would be launched before 2009 was up.
That deal came true not long after the welcoming ceremony at the royal palace.
“The free trade agreement, which was signed today, is key to enhancing bilateral economic cooperation and boosting trade as well as investments between Jordan and Turkey,” a palace statement quoted the King as telling the President.
“The two sides discussed efforts to strengthen cooperation in the fields of transport and energy,” the statement added.
“The agreement, which goes into effect in 2011, provides for the total removal of custom duties between the two countries in 12 years,” Jordanian Minister of Trade and Industry Amer Hadidi said.
The governments of Jordan and Turkey will also eschew visa requirements between the two nations.
Earlier this week, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum said the media exaggerated his emirate’s debt crisis, and that the world is being misled over how Dubai would solve the problem. The Sheikh also verbally attacked international investors by saying, “they do not understand anything.”
Speaking in an e-mailed statement, the Sheikh, who is also prime minister and vice-president of the United Arab Emirates, said “The media hype is exaggerated and will not hurt our perseverance. Dubai World is independent from the [UAE]government.”
“We are strong and persistent,” he added. “It is the fruit-bearing tree that becomes the target of [stone] throwers.”
Dubai World, the state-run company behind the sheikhdom’s property boom, began talks with banks yesterday on how to fix the $26 billion debt. It is also seeking to delay pay backs on less than half of its $59 billion of obligations, easing the possible damage to banks recovering from the credit crisis.
Analysts are saying there is now deep distrust towards Dubai, and a lot of work needs to be done to repair that.
Meanwhile, despite the emirate’s financial problems, Sheikh Mohammed still found the time to purchase some racing horses. Two days before Dubai sent shockwaves across global stockmarkets, he bought eight horses for almost $2 million.
“The horse side of the business is the private enjoyment of Sheikh Mohammed, so therefore has nothing whatever to do with the government, or government funds and the restructuring,” said John Ferguson, the Sheikh’s horse buying adviser.