ANNAPOLIS, MD – As part of a weeklong economic development mission to Israel and Jordan, Governor Martin O’Malley today traveled to Amman, Jordan to meet with the Regent, HRH Prince Faisal bin Al-Hussein. The mission marks the Governor’s first to Jordan, where he hopes to open new avenues for trade and investment. Following the meeting, the Governor toured Amman – Jordan’s capital and largest city – then met with the U.S. Charge d’Affaires in Jordan Stephanie Williams, who hosted a reception where the Governor addressed Jordanian business leaders.
“We see great potential to strengthen our export relationship with Jordan, and also promote Maryland as the gateway to U.S. markets for Jordanian businesses,” said Governor O’Malley. “It was an honor to meet with the Regent, who, along with King Abdullah II, understands the importance of reaching across borders to explore new trade and investment opportunities that will benefit not just Maryland and Jordan, but the global economy.”
“We welcome the visit of Governor O’Malley and his delegation from the state of Maryland,” said U.S. Charge d’Affaires in Jordan Stephanie Williams. “We look forward to exploring the opportunities presented by this visit to identify future business and academic ties between the United States and Jordan.”
During the reception, Governor O’Malley joined University of Maryland (UMD) President Wallace D. Loh in announcing that the university today signed an historic agreement with the University of Jordan. The agreement establishes UMD’s first formal reciprocal student exchange program with Jordan’s oldest and largest university, and is among College Park’s first such accords in the Middle East.
“Opening doors and establishing connections with outstanding academic partners like the University of Jordan quickly benefit our educational and research efforts,” said President Loh. “Student exchanges pack indelible lessons into a few months, and presage even deeper collaborations. Throughout this trip we are discovering how our maturing international networks increase our impact and effectiveness for the State of Maryland.”
Maryland is continuing to grow its business and economic relationship with Jordan. While Maryland is the second largest U.S. import market by volume for Jordan, Jordan is 63rd largest export market for Maryland. In 2012, Maryland exports to Jordan totaled $17 million, with vehicles, used or second hand merchandise and machinery and chemicals as the top exports.
In addition to being a large import market for Jordan, Maryland is also home to the Governor’s Commission on Middle Eastern American Affairs, which Governor O’Malley created in 2007 to effectively address the concerns of the Middle Eastern American community. Maryland also has the Middle East American Chamber of Commerce (MACC), which helps to bring together entrepreneurs and professionals from the Middle East. Their objectives are to create jobs in Maryland, advocate for small businesses in Maryland, improve the relationship between Maryland and Middle-East countries, maintain communication about opportunities and legislation on a regular basis, and create opportunities to empower Middle East American businesses and professionals.
The O’Malley-Brown Administration has taken significant steps to ramp up the State’s international outreach. In 2011, the Governor led two historic economic development missions – one to China, South Korea and Vietnam and one to India – that netted a combined $145 million in trade and investment deals for the State and the companies that were part of the delegation. Subsequently, several delegations from those countries have visited Maryland in recent months, resulting in additional partnerships and deals for Maryland companies.