(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Jordanian representation will be the largest at an international investment conference in Palestine if the participating businesspeople are granted entry permissions by Israeli authorities.
According to President of Amman Chamber of Commerce Riad Saifi, who heads the delegation, the number of local companies that signed up for the June 2-3 Palestine Investment Conference in Bethlehem is 134. He said the size of potential participation signifies Jordanian private sectors willingness to help boost the Palestinian economy and enhance cooperation with peers there. Naturally, he said, this is not good news for Israel.
Israeli authorities always try to place obstacles in the path of increasing commercial cooperation with Palestinians, he noted, indicating that the Palestinian Authority (PA) promised to secure entry permissions 10 days ahead of the event.
We did not apply for Israeli visas because we didnt want the visa to be stamped on our passports but instead we applied for entry permissions, he told The Jordan Times on Monday.
Director General of the Palestinian Investment Promotion Agency (PIPA) Jafar Hdaib told The Jordan Times over the phone that the PA is following up with Israeli authorities to secure permissions for all would-be participants.
We expect businesspeople to arrive on May 31 and entry permissions will be ready before that date, he stated, adding that the permits will be provided by the Palestinian Civil Affairs Committee in coordination with the Israeli side.
He confirmed that delegates passports will not be stamped by Israeli visas.
The PIPA chief indicated that business representatives and officials from 40 countries are scheduled to take part in the conference, adding that the Jordanian delegation, which includes representatives from the commercial and industrial sectors, will be the largest.
The conference seeks to change the stereotype about Palestine and to show success stories of the Palestinian private sector despite impediments, Hdaib said.
The Palestinian official said the forum will partly focus on exportable Palestinian products, explaining that there are two pharmaceutical companies that already export their products to Europe, while marble and stones are being exported to over 50 countries and food products are available in most Arab markets.
Zaki Ayoubi, director general of the Jordan Chamber of Industry, said scores of local industrialists are interested in exploring the investment environment in Palestine, although they are well aware of Israeli restrictions on the flow of goods and individuals between Jordan and Palestine.
Ayoubi noted that the Kingdom is keen to contribute to strengthening the Palestinian economy, indicating that Jordanians have participated in building the economic infrastructure in Palestine, particularly in the fields of banking and telecommunications.
According to official figures, trade exchange between Jordan and the PA reached around 100 million in 2009, a figure Ayoubi described as modest, attributing that to the fact that there is no direct customs point between the two sides and that Israeli authorities impose restrictions on the flow of goods under security pretexts.
We work to boost commercial exchange but the situation is getting more complicated on the ground, Ayoubi said.
By Omar Obeidat