Originally published in Blakes Bulletin on International
Trade & Investment, September 2009
The texts of the Canada-Jordan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and
several parallel agreements were tabled in Parliament on September
15, 2009. For 21 sitting days in Parliament, the agreements will be
open for review and debate. Following this time, the government has
the stated intention of introducing laws that would bring these
agreements into force. These agreements were signed in June 2009.
In addition to the FTA, the texts of the Canada-Jordan Labour
Cooperation Agreement (LCA), the Canada-Jordan Agreement on the
Environment (AE), and the Canada-Jordan Foreign Investment
Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) have also been
In 2008, two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Jordan was
valued at C$92-million. Important Canadian exports to Jordan
include paper and paperboard, copper products, pulse crops,
machinery and woodpulp.
The FTA will eliminate all non-agricultural tariffs and most
agricultural tariffs, in addition to commitments to reduce
non-tariff barriers. Tariffs on certain Canadian exports in the
10-30% range will be eliminated immediately. Exports that will
benefit from this treatment include pulse crops, frozen french
fries, animal feed, various prepared foods, and certain forest
products and machinery.
The FTA will also eliminate most tariffs on goods imported from
Jordan. In 2008, imports from Jordan were valued at C$15-million.
The leading types of imported products were apparel (both knit and
woven), fertilizer, and agricultural products (particularly
As a goods-only agreement, the FTA will not lessen barriers
imposed on the services trade between the two nations. However,
there are protections provided for investments in the Canada-Jordan
FIPA, as well as certain reciprocal rights related to air
The Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement is
intended to provide greater protection for investments. This type
of agreement does so by establishing clear rules and enforcement
mechanisms for the protection of foreign investment. In addition to
transparency and a dispute settlement mechanism, the FIPA is
intended to provide protection against discriminatory treatment,
expropriation without prompt and adequate compensation, and to
provide for the free transfer of funds.
The Labour Cooperation Agreement contains commitments from the
parties to uphold principles and rights articulated by the
International Labour Organization (ILO), such as the rights of
freedom of association and collective bargaining and the abolition
of child labour. Among other things, the LCA will require the
parties to provide for adequate employment standards, protections
for migrant workers, and to settle disputes through a specified
mechanism. Under the LCA, the countries agree that employment and
labour laws in both countries are not to be weakened for the
purposes of encouraging trade or investment.
The Agreement on the Environment will commit both countries to
effectively enforce existing domestic environmental laws. As in the
LCA, the parties are not to weaken environmental laws in the
pursuit of trade. In addition, the parties have agreed to ensure
that environmental assessment processes are in place to increase
public awareness of environmental laws, to provide remedies for
violations, and to encourage private enterprises to develop and
voluntarily implement best practices with respect to the
environment. The AE will provide for access to an independent
review panel where the parties cannot effectively deal with a
matter arising under the AE.
The agreements are to be open for review in Parliament for 21
sitting days. Following this period of review and debate, the
government intends to introduce legislation to implement the
agreements. The government has stated it will take steps to ratify
the FIPA, which does not require implementing legislation.
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