Jordan's garment exports to rise despite domestic dive

January 31, 2019 - Jordan

Jordan’s garment exports are rising and will continue to grow despite declining domestic sales last year, according to a recent study by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Domestic garment sales declined sharply by nearly 60 per cent in 2018, according to Munir Deyeh, president of the Textile and Readymade Clothes Syndicate.

The garment export sector in Jordan is a $1.8-billion industry and is is expected to grow by at least 8 per cent this year, a top Jordanian newspaper reported. The United States is Jordan’s top export market.

Eight five per cent of the $1.2 billion worth of commodities exported to the United States annually are garments, Fredon Hartoka, secretary general of the Jordan Investment Committee said.

The country’s garment exports to the European Union too are expected to increase due to a 2016 agreement on simplified rules of origin, Hartoka said, adding it will create more jobs and boost the sector’s revenues. The agreement is valid till 2026.

Challenges for the sector include absence of trained and qualified local labour, high borrowing costs and the lack of experience among leaders of the sector’s small and medium enterprises (SME) sub-segment.

The percentage of foreign labour in the sector is the most pressing issue and needs urgent attention, said Khaled Al Saheb, principal manager for EBRD’s SME finance and development group in Jordan. Seventy five per cent of workers in the sector are foreign nationals.

Degree-holding Jordanians avoiding working in garment factories is also another challenge. (DS)