(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Merchants are worried that Jordan may accept financial compensation for abiding by Arab economic sanctions against Syria, according to Jordan Chamber of Commerce (JCC) President Nael Kabariti.
Indicating that the Kingdom will be the hardest hit by the sanctions on Syria, Kabariti told a press conference that officials should exert utmost efforts to convince the Arab League that Jordan should be excluded from implementing the penalties on Damascus, pointing out that around 70 per cent of Jordan's imports from Turkey and Europe enter through Syria.
Accepting financial compensation means that funds will go to the treasury, leaving merchants and consumers to suffer from rising commercial and living costs, the JCC chief said.
Jordan has officially requested the Arab League's technical committee to exclude the Kingdom's trade and aviation sectors from the sanctions on Syria to avoid possible economic losses.
Syria is also the gateway for Jordanian exports, particularly vegetables, to Turkey and Europe, he said, indicating that large quantities of local agricultural produce during the winter season are exported to the Syrian market.
According to official figures, Syria imports around one-third of Jordanian vegetables during winter.
"Closing the Syrian corridor will be very costly to the Jordanian economy," Kabariti said, noting that using other alternative trade routes will result in higher import and export costs in addition to longer delivery periods.
"Security issues will be a concern for cargo trucks in addition to higher transportation costs," he added, indicating that around 400 cargo trucks used to enter Syrian lands to and from Jordan per day.
In previous remarks to The Jordan Times, Transport Secretary General Laith Dababneh said the ministry is discussing with the Iraqi government the possibility of using Iraq as an alternative transit route to Europe.
Noting that major imports from Syria include food products, garment and cereals, the JCC chief disclosed that trade exchange between the two neighbouring countries has dropped sharply in recent weeks.
According to Department of Statistics figures, the volume of trade exchange between Jordan and Syria reached around JD371 million during the first three quarters of this year.
Jordanian exports to Syria stood during the same period at JD148 million, while imports from the northern neighbouring country exceeded JD220 million, the statistics showed.