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Jordan is Saudi Arabia's largest trade partner, Riyadh-backed Amman-Aqaba railway still on track Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff

Jordan is Saudi Arabia's largest trade partner, Riyadh-backed Amman-Aqaba railway still on track

Relations between the two states have increased in recent years [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 October, 2020

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Saudi ambassador to Amman Nayef bin Bandar Al-Sudairy said trade relations between Riyadh and Amman have been growing in recent years.

The volume of trade between Jordan and Saudi Arabia amounted to $5 billion last year, Riyadh's ambassador has said, with a railway line that could possible link the kingdom with Israel still on track.

Nayef bin Bandar Al-Sudairy said Jordan is the kingdom's "largest trading partner", noting an increase was expected between the two countries.

Imports and exports between the two kingdom's have increased since the coronavirus global pandemic struck.

The Arab allies have a joint investment fund that is estimated at around $3 billion that is split 90-10 percent with Saudi Arabia owning the majority.

Last week, "a health care project was approved to establish a hospital and medical university in Amman at an estimated cost of $400 million", Al-Sudairy said.

"We hope the project will be a good start to for the two countries," he added. The new venture will provide 5,000 job opportunities and will attract 600 medical students.

Al-Sudairy said Jordan holds huge investment opportunities, particularly in the tourism field, and
Riyadh is studying a project related to technological services that is expected to be presented to the Jordanian market, he added.

Other projects include a railway project linking southern Jordan to Amman - the "largest ever project between the two countries".

In 2018, Israel's transport minister confirmed the project to connect the country with the Gulf region by rail was well underway.

"Israel is ready to promote cooperation in the region," Yisrael Katz said at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference. "This is the best way to ensure Israel's security.”

The "Tracks for Regional Peace" railway project is one facet of this, an ambitious project that will link Israel, via Jordan, to the Gulf states.

It is not known which countries will be included in the regional railway initiative, but it is believed that Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman and Bahrain are among the possibilities.

Israel struck landmark agreements last month with the UAE and Bahrain, and on Friday, agreed with Sudan to normalise relations in a US-brokered deal.

The head of Israel's intelligence agency alleged a normalisation deal between Tel Aviv and Riyadh will soon come, according to Jerusalem Post.

Saudi Arabia still has no formal ties with the Jewish state, but now allows flights in its air space.

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