AMMAN – The Jordanian Customs Department announced it has completed a reform programme aimed at streamlining customs administration procedures and enhancing the security of customs administration launched two years ago. The programme was implemented with assistance from the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) at a cost of US$4.5 million. Customs reform is one of the basic conditions of Jordan’s eligibility to receive aid from the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
The reform programme is based on the introduction of electronic databases to allow companies to process required import and export documents over the Internet. Customs has also streamlined its exemption procedures to facilitate business management for exporters and importers that are intended to promote a climate receptive to investment. According to Jordanian officials, more than 1,900 Customs Department employees have been trained to use the programme’s new technology.
At an event hosted by the Jordanian Customs Authorities to celebrate the completion of this programme, U.S. Ambassador to Jordan Stephan Beecroft said, “The Customs Department is now more efficient and more business-friendly for importers and exporters alike, strengthening the global competitiveness of Jordan’s businesses”.
Jordanian Minister for Planning and International Cooperation Suhair Al-Ali said that a committee of representatives from the government and public and private sectors has been set up to monitor implementation of the administrative changes made in the nation’s customs programme.
Customs Department Director of Tariffs Mumin Mulham subsequently announced that the government intends to abolish customs duties on all imported cars in May in accordance with requirements for Jordan’s accession to the World Trade Organisation. Jordanian authorities have also decided to reduce or abolish custom duties on some 900 other goods by late 2010.
Around 54,000 cars were imported into Jordan last year, but the market slumped in the last quarter because of the world financial crisis. Head of the Car Dealers Union Salameh Al-Jundi estimates that prices have fallen between 20 and 30 percent over the past few months because of a lack of demand, and now buyers are waiting for expected customs reductions before purchasing cars.