On Thursday, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) of Commerce for Middle East and Africa, Camille Richardson concluded a three-day virtual commercial diplomacy visit to Jordan. During her visit, DAS Richardson met with Jordanian business and government leaders to advance U.S. government efforts to expand trade, discussed water projects and public-private partnerships, and engaged key Jordanian women business leaders.
DAS Richardson’s visit came as the United States and Jordan celebrate the 20th anniversary of their Free Trade Agreement (FTA) – the first U.S. FTA with an Arab country. The FTA has helped diversify Jordan’s economy while growing bilateral trade between Jordan and the United States by over 800 percent since 2000. The agreement has expanded the trade relationship by reducing barriers to trade, providing cutting-edge protections for intellectual property, ensuring regulatory transparency, and requiring effective implementation and enforcement of international standards regarding labor rights and environmental protection.
In her meetings with the Public-Private Partnership Unit and with the Ministry of Water & Irrigation, DAS Richardson discussed Jordan’s priority projects. During these meetings, DAS Richardson reinforced the shared commitment to strengthen ongoing partnership and further deepen commercial ties. Additionally, as part of a roundtable event organized by AmCham Jordan, DAS Richardson met with business representatives in the Jordanian market to discuss challenges as well as opportunities to advance bilateral commercial interests. DAS Richardson spotlighted initiatives to further strengthen business ties, noting that, “Economic prosperity is a common interest. The U.S. Commercial Service at the U.S. Embassy in Amman values its collaboration with AmCham-Jordan. our shared efforts help to promote trade and investment, which contribute to economic opportunities in both the United States and Jordan.”
As an advocate for women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship, DAS Richardson also led a discussion featuring several accomplished businesswomen in Jordan. Participants shared valuable perspectives on women’s entrepreneurship and potential for business relations between women-led businesses in the United States and Jordan. DAS Richardson communicated Commerce priorities including the Select Global Women in Tech (SGWIT) and Women Empowered Leave Legacies Through Trade and Investment (WELLTI) initiatives. Highlighting WELLTI, an initiative that she recently launched, DAS Richardson noted that, “…promoting linkages between women-owned businesses in the United States and the Middle East and Africa can serve as an important platform for facilitating international growth.” Launching concrete follow-on events is a focus of the virtual trip, with DAS Richardson expressing a desire to continue discussions with a WELLTI “virtual coffee-chat” with Jordanian women business leaders in September.
DAS Richardson’s visit builds on the recent launch of the InvesTech 2021 workshops and pitch-fest for start-ups and tech companies in the region. InvesTech2021 was organized by the U.S. Commercial Service at the U.S. Embassy in Amman in partnership with SelectUSA, the Commerce Department’s program to promote foreign direct investment into the United States.
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