Countries / Territories

Jordan: Improving the international competitiveness of the textile and clothing sector (GTEX)

  • Objective | Sector Context | Beneficiaries | Contact information


    The Jordan project has been developed within the framework of the GTEX programme and is fully aligned to the programme’s approach and strategy. It will focus on capacity building of the private sector with a main focus on the clothing sector. Technical assistance consists of direct support to enterprises in selected sub-sectors as well as selected Trade and Investment Support Institutions (TISIs) supporting the sector.

    Sector Context

    In Jordan, the clothing sector is one of the country’s main engines for industrial development and employment creation. In 2017, T&C exports totalled 1.64 billion US$. 95% of all Textiles and Clothing (T&C) exports go to the US market under Qualified Industrial Zone (QIZ) initiative and a Free Trade Agreement. In fact, the industry is dominated by foreign investors, mainly from Asia, that invested in larger factories to benefit from free access to the US market. Exports to the EU only constituted 3.5% in 2017, mainly due to stringent Rules of Origin requirements under an otherwise duty-free market access. This has changed recently towards a single transformation rule as long as companies employ at least 15% Syrian refugees by 2018 and 25% by 2019. 90 export-oriented companies employ approximately 70,000 people, but only a quarter of these are Jordanians. About 75% of the workforce consists of migrant workers from South and Southeast Asia. To change this the government has now obliged companies to increase the employment ratio of Jordanians to 37% by 2019 and 50% by 2021.

    The consistent surge in T&C exports is predominantly US-led and is fuelled by the US-Jordan Free Trade Agreement, which entered into force in December 2001 and came into full effect in 2010. Due to competition from Vietnam and Bangladesh, many foreign companies in Jordan focus on items with high custom duties that would benefit from the duty-free provision, such as man-made fibres and sportswear. Major US retail buyers include department stores such as Target, JC Penny, Walmart, and brands such as Calvin Klein, Levi Strauss, Under Armour, and Nike. That is also the reason why Jordan exports almost exclusively knit apparel, which accounts for almost 92% of all T&C exports.


    In Jordan, the Programme will work with 15 companies for direct support. The programme will support the Vision 2020 in terms of market and product diversification. A special emphasis will be given to support “satellite” factories of established companies in rural areas to encourage a higher employment of Jordanians as well as “satellite” companies closer to refugee camps to increase the number of Syrian refugees that find work in the industry.

    Contact information

    Eman Beseiso – Trade Promotion Adviser
    International Trade Centre, Geneva
    54-56 rue de Montbrillant, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland
    (+41) 22 730 0445

    Ola Mohamad - National Project Coordinator
    International Trade Centre, Jordan

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