The leaders of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) welcomed Jordan as a future member during the group's summit Tuesday (May 10th) in Riyadh.
The decision drew a positive reaction from economists and analysts in Amman.
Jordanian economists are relying on the country joining the GCC to be a lever for economic growth and a solution to the problems of unemployment and poverty by creating new opportunities for investment and trade.
The Jordanian government welcomed the decision of the GCC, saying in a statement Tuesday evening, "Jordan looks forward to further dialogue between the foreign ministers of the GCC and Foreign Affairs Minister Nasser Jawdat to meet the requirements of membership in the council."
The statement added, "The leaders of the Gulf nations welcoming Jordan to the Gulf Co-operation Council is the result of intensive efforts made by King Abdullah II and his brothers the GCC leaders to engage with the countries of the Gulf and reinforce common interests."
No date was announced regarding when Jordan would become a member. Discussions about how Jordan can meet membership requirements are expected to continue later this month, according to wire reports. In 2010 Jordan's gross domestic product was $28 billion, slightly higher than Bahrain's $23 billion, the smallest economy in the GCC.
Member countries in the GCC account for the largest percentage of Jordan's trade. Gulf investments in the Jordanian stock market exceed 4 billion dinars ($5.6 billion).
The decision to welcome Jordan's membership bolstered trading activity in Jordan. During trading on Wednesday, the stock market rose 18 points, and the value of stock prices gained about $205 million.
The geographical contiguity between Jordan and Saudi Arabia, the largest member of the GCC, in addition to similar social structures, are factors that will boost the kingdom's accession to the council.
Jordan applied for membership to the GCC in the 1980s, but the application was rejected with no reason provided, according to the Associated Press.
Hamdi al-Tabaa, head of the Jordanian Businessmen Association, said, "The structure of the Jordanian economy is more or less ready to become part of the Gulf Co-operation Council system given the socio-demographic convergence and historical relations between the two parties, and their adoption of a free-market economy."
He added, "Jordan and the Gulf states are signatories to similar conventions such as the Greater Arab Free Trade Organisation and the Global Free Trade Organisation."
A 2006 study by the Amman Chamber of Commerce estimated the number of Jordanians working in Gulf countries at 600,000.
Economist Thabet Al-War, said, "Jordan will offer the GCC a comparative advantage and qualitative weight with its combination of population, political sway, foreign relations and large possibilities for convergence."
He said Jordan possesses qualified labour in various sectors, as well as being a stable country with a safe environment and advanced economic laws, which is a key factor in attracting investment. He said that the economic benefits of the resolution will help both sides.
Ayman Al-Majali, the president of the Financial and Economic Committee in the House of Representatives, said in a press statement Wednesday that the decision would have economic, social, political, cultural and educational benefits for Jordan and the Gulf states. It will help Jordan's economy through the free flow of capital, labour and goods, and offer greater employment opportunities.
Reem Badran, deputy chairman for the Jordan Chamber of Commerce, called for taking advantage of the expertise accumulated by the two parties in the implementation of strategic projects.
She told Al-Shorfa, "The resources that Jordan will acquire in the Gulf States will be a catalyst for growth and does not require an extensive rehabilitation of the economy because both parties are responsive to the terms of the World Trade Organisation and their economies are close."
Jordan's exports to GCC countries were worth more than 800 million dinars last year ($1.125 million dollars), while Jordanian imports amounted to 2.73 billion dinars ($3.85 billion.)