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Jordan to fully reopen main crossing with Syria this week By Reuters


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: Jordanian Police officers examine cars near Jordan’s Jaber border crossingin. This is near Syria’s Nassib Checkpoint. October 25, 2018, Jordan. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed/File Photo

By Suleiman Al-Khalidi

AMMAN (Reuters) – Jordan will fully reopen its main border crossing with Syria from Wednesday, government and industry officials said, as a high-level Syrian team arrived in Amman to discuss how to ease the flow of goods hit by the pandemic and a decade of conflict.

The Jaber crossing was opened in 2018 by the Syrian government, which drove the rebels out of southern Syria. But trade is still not at the pre-war $1billion level.

According to officials, restrictions on the transmission of the coronavirus were put in place to combat it. They will be removed starting Wednesday.

A visiting delegation representing Syria’s trade and agriculture ministers would be meeting to discuss lifting tariff barriers.

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Jamal al Rifae – deputy head of Jordan’s Chamber of Commerce – said to Reuters that the move would help restore past trade relationships and revitalize lucrative transit trade.

Mazen Faraya, the Interior Minister of Jordan, said that restrictions on Syrian transit cargo from Syria to Gulf markets will be removed. Damascus had been pressing for this.

Faraya said that transit cargo to the Gulf from Jordan will be permitted from Syria, as well as unrestricted passenger travel.

Before conflict in Syria, hundreds of trucks used the Nasib-Jaber crossing to move goods between Europe, Turkey, and the Gulf.

Jordanian businesses had avoided Syria since the 2019 Caesar Act, the most severe U.S. sanction that banned foreign companies from trading with Damascus.

The pandemic caused an economic slowdown in Jordan. Jordanian businessmen lobbied Washington to lift restrictions that it must approve to import items from Syria. These traders had long been close partners.

Syria’s only normally operating frontier crossing has been with Lebanon, and in recent years Iraq after the reopening of the Qaim crossing in 2019.

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