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US Ambassador Beecroft visits garment factory in Madaba
May '09
Ambassador Robert Stephen Beecroft
Ambassador Robert Stephen Beecroft
U.S. Ambassador Stephen Beecroft reaffirmed 60 years of U.S.-Jordanian cooperation and strong trade relationship during a visit to Sterling Apparel Manufacturing Company's satellite factory, which is a Qualifying Industrial Zone (QIZ) in Madaba governorate.

Opened in February, the factory is part of a Jordanian government initiative with the private sector to employ more Jordanians in the garment sector. Having the potential to employ up to 450 local workers, the factory has already hired 170 Jordanian workers, mostly women.

During a meeting with Sterling's U.S. owner Robert Rothbaum, who is visiting Jordan, the Ambassador commended the factory's management in its success in hiring a 100 percent Jordanian workforce and providing new opportunities for a previously underserved population.

The Ambassador said: “This satellite factory is a great example of a company working together with the public sector to ensure business benefits the local population.” He added: “It is also a sign of the enduring strength of the Jordanian-American partnership over the past years, a relationship that celebrates 60 years of close cooperation this year.”

Mr. Rothbaum thanked the Ambassador for his support of the new venture and said, “Sterling Apparel is proud to be part of this joint venture program to expand employment for local Jordanians. Although in its infancy, the new venture is doing well and we look forward to adding additional workers as the US economy improves.”

Talks also focused on how the garment sector can weather the global recession. Both agreed the U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement and the QIZs continue to provide a competitive edge for Jordanian manufacturers by providing duty-free access to the United States market. After a tour of the factory, the Ambassador also discussed with a group of workers ways to create more employment opportunities for Jordanians.

Sterling Apparel Manufacturing Company produces apparel for American buyers such as Hanes and Fruit of the Loom, with export sales of approximately $20 million in 2008. Goods are exported under both the U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement and the QIZ agreement. According to the Department of Statistics, Jordan's apparel exports, most of which are destined for the U.S. market, continued to represent approximately 16 percent of total national exports during the first two months of 2009.

U.S. Department of State

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