GDP: $22.8 billion/$4,300 per capita (2002).
GDP Change: +3.5 percent.
Population: 5.5 million.
Unemployment: 16 percent.*
Textile & Apparel Exports to U.S.: $483.4 million, up 89.2 percent.**
Key Products: Women’s and girls’ knit cotton blouses, men’s and boys’ knit cotton shirts, women’s and girls’ cotton pants.
Currency: 0.714 dinar = $1 U.S.
Major Companies: Century Tailoring, El Zay Ready-to-Wear Manufacturing, Maintrend International, Canon County Knitting Mill, Prime Five.
A constitutional monarchy, Jordan stands out as a somewhat Western-minded nation in a part of the world that is often seen as hostile to Western ideas in general and the U.S. in particular. Jordan also stands out in the Middle East for its lack of oil, which has deprived it of a source of wealth that many of its neighbors enjoy. While there are notable pockets of affluence in Jordan, particularly around the capital Amman, poverty and unemployment remain significant problems. One competitive advantage that Jordan has economically is beneficial trade terms with the U.S. that allow goods manufacturers in closely regulated Qualified Industrial Zones to enter the U.S. free of duty and quota. This has sparked the creation of many factories and helped Jordan build a significant export base of cut-and-sew apparel. The nation is not home to a significant textile industry, though, which raises the question of how well Jordanian suppliers will be positioned to compete with Asian rivals in 2005, when quotas on apparel and textiles are lifted among World Trade Organization members.
* OFFICIAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IS 16 PERCENT BUT THE CIA WORLD FACTBOOK ESTIMATES IT MAY BE BETWEEN 25 PERCENT AND 30 PERCENT.
** IMPORT DATA IS FOR THE YEAR ENDED JUNE 30, COMPARED WITH CORRESPONDING YEAR-AGO PERIOD.
SOURCES: CIA WORLD FACTBOOK, U.S. COMMERCE DEPARTMENT, OANDA.COM