Three years later, the kingdom set up an authority to manage the growth of economic trade and free zone opportunities. Jordan now has five state-backed free zones and more than 36 operated by private sector companies.

The five state zones largely provide industrial, commercial and storage services. The Zarqa Free Zone was established in 1983, Sahab Free Zone in 1997, Queen Alia International Airport Free Zone in 1998, Al-Karak Free Zone in 2001 and Al-Karama Free Zone in 2004. Priority is given to export industries and technology, while industrial projects are exempt from 10 per cent of annual land fees.

The private free zones were established to enhance the kingdom’s relationship with the private sector, and companies are encouraged to run their own zones. The Jordanian Free Zones Corporation lists the benefits of free zones as improving the investment environment, increasing competitiveness, enhancing governmental administration and promoting corporate social responsibility.

Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ) was set up in 2001 and was ranked 20th in the Top 50 Free Zones of the Future 2012/13 by FDI Magazine. With access to the Red Sea, the multi-sector development is spread across 375 square kilometres, including 27km of coastline, sea ports and an international airport.

Aqaba International Industrial Estate, located inside the ASEZ, was ranked 33rd in the world, while the combined Dead Sea Development Zone and Jabal Ajloun Development Zone were ranked 44th.

Six new state-run zones were announced in 2007. These include: the King Hussein bin Talal Development Area, 60km northeast of Amman; the Maan Development Area, 218km south of Amman; the Irbid Development Area, 20km east of Irbid city; the Dead Sea Development Zone, 55km from Amman; the Jabal Ajloun Development Zone, 45 minutes from the capital; and the Business Park Development Area in Dabouq.

Jordan has encouraged foreign investment and the development of an “outward-orientated, market-based and globally competitive economy”, according to the government’s 2012 investment climate statement. The US think tank Heritage Foundation’s 2013 Index of Economic Freedom places Jordan’s economy in 33rd position.

Fast facts

  • Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ) has attracted $400m in investment since it was established in 2001.
  • There are 300 companies operating in ASEZ.
  • Jordan is home to five operational state-run free zones.
  • A further six development zones are in the pipeline.

Zarqa Free Zone

The Zarqa Free Zone is the second largest in Jordan and is fully developed and operational.

Facilities

  • 5.5 million sq m
  • Situated 35km northeast of the capital Amman, connecting Jordan with neighbouring countries
  • 65 licensed industrial companies
  • 175+ warehouses

Benefits

  • No customs duties
  • 30-year leases
  • Industrial projects are exempt from 10 per cent of annual land fees
  • Free transfer of capital
  • 100 per cent foreign ownership

Industries

  • Industrial
  • Commercial
  • Services
  • Tourism

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Sahab Free Zone

The fully developed Sahab Free Zone was set up in 1997 and lies 25km southeast of Amman.

Facilities

  • 63,000 sq m
  • The Sahab industrial estate is located within the free zone

Benefits

  • No customs duties
  • 30-year leases
  • Industrial projects are exempt from 10 per cent of land fees
  • Free transfer of capital
  • 100 per cent foreign ownership

Industries

  • Industrial
  • Commercial
  • Services
  • Tourism

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Queen Alia International Airport Free Zone

The Queen Alia International airport is home to the main free zone in Amman, which comprises a public zone as well as several privately established free zones.

Facilities

  • 120,000 sq m
  • Warehouses

Benefits

  • No customs duties
  • 30-year leases
  • Ability to establish corporate-owned private free zones
  • Industrial projects are exempt from 10 per cent of land fees
  • Free transfer of capital
  • 100 per cent foreign ownership

Industries

  • Commercial: duty-free shops and goods storage
  • Transit trade services: handling and air support services; aircraft maintenance and repair services; aircraft manufacturing; catering
  • Tourism

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Al-Karak Free Zone

The Al-Karak Free Zone is located within the Al-Hussain bin Abdullah II industrial estate, 100km south of Amman.

Facilities

  • 138,000 sq m

Benefits

  • No customs duties
  • 30-year leases
  • Industrial projects are exempt from 10 per cent of land fees
  • Free transfer of capital
  • 100 per cent foreign ownership

Industries

  • Industrial

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Al-Karama Free Zone

The Al-Karama Free Zone was set up in 2004 in the Al-Mafraq governorate, 360km east of Amman on the Jordan-Iraq border.

Facilities

  • 200-hectare public free zone
  • 800-hectare private free zone area
  • Warehouses

Benefits

  • No customs duties
  • 30-year leases
  • Industrial projects are exempt from 10 per cent of land fees
  • Free transfer of capital
  • 100 per cent foreign ownership

Industries

  • Industrial
  • Commercial
  • Services
  • Tourism

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Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ)

The ASEZ was launched in 2001, covering 27km of coastline, the country’s sea ports, Aqaba city and an international airport. The private sector initiative is due to be completed in 2020.

Facilities

  • The entire southern part of ASEZ, the Southern Industrial Zone (SIE), has been designated an industrial estate
  • The SIZ contains a large fertiliser company cluster, worth $1bn
  • Port and airport
  • Land available for development

Benefits

  • Flat-rate 5 per cent income tax on net profit
  • Exemption from tax on land, building, dividends and profit
  • Duty-free import of goods in commercial quantities
  • No foreign equity restrictions on investments
  • No foreign currency restrictions
  • 100 per cent repatriation of profits and capital
  • 100 per cent foreign ownership
  • Labour may be up to 70 per cent foreign

Industries

  • Tourism
  • Services
  • Heavy industry
  • Commercial
  • Logistics and warehousing
  • Transportation
  • Education
  • Health and environment
  • Light industry

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King Hussein Business Park (KHBP)

Located in Amman, KHBP comprises offices and leisure facilities and aims to develop Jordan’s healthcare, information and communications technology, media, education and security sectors. According to the Jordan Investment Board, there were 32 buildings in the park in June 2013, and the total built-up area is 112,650 sq m.

Facilities

  • Offices
  • Support buildings
  • Sports complex
  • Parking
  • Data recovery centre
  • 4,300-sq-m internal courtyard

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Dead Sea Development Zone

Stretching for 40km along the east and north costs of the Dead Sea, this zone is in early stages of development. It will be focused on tourism and is linked by the Dead Sea Highway to Amman.

Facilities

The Dead Sea Highway is being upgraded and made more scenic, linking areas of the development zone together, as well as linking it to Jordan’s capital, Amman, 55km away.

Industries

  • Hospitality
  • Tourism

Dead Sea Development Company (Dead Sea Development Zone)

Tel: (+962) 6 553 1110

Fax: (+962) 6 553 2121

Email: info@dsdc.jo

Web: www.dsdc.jo

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Jabal Ajloun Development Zone

The zone is slated to become a resort town about 1,300 metres above sea level and 45km from Amman. Initial developments will be around a five-star hotel complex playing on the area’s mild climate, historical sites and pleasant scenery.

Facilities

A masterplan has been mapped out to take advantage of the area’s natural features. Jordan Development Zones Company is the master developer, offering tax holidays, financial incentives and development rights. It can reclaim sold land that has not been developed.

Benefits

  • 5 per cent income tax
  • No sales, social security or dividend tax
  • No import or export duties

Industries

  • Tourism and ecotourism
  • Hospitality
  • Retail and services
  • Real estate

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King Hussein bin Talal Development Area (KHBTDA)

The KHBTDA is located in Mafraq, 60km northeast of the capital Amman. The project was started in 2008.

Industries: Industrial, transport and logistics, distribution, light industry, food and beverages, pharmaceutical and medical supplies, and chemicals

Irbid Development Area

The Irbid development area will be located in the north of Jordan on a 3.2-sq-km plot, 20km east of Irbid city and 80km north of Amman.

Industries: Information and communications technology services, healthcare, research and development, and commercial (residential and mixed-use)

Industrial Estates

Jordan also hosts several qualifying industrial zones (QIZ). Benefits are similar to those found in the free zones, including exemption from export, income and social services taxes and customs duties. More zones are being developed in Al-Hasa, Mafraq, Al-Muwaqar, Zarqa, Tafila, Maan and Amman.

Al-Hassan Industrial estate

Location: Irbid, 80km north of Amman

Size: 120 hectares

Al-Hussain bin Abdullah II Industrial Estate

Location: Al-Karak governorate, 110km south of Amman

Size: 186.6 hectares

Abdullah II Ibn al-Hussein Industrial Estate

Location: 12km south of Amman

Size: 253 hectares

Aqaba International Industrial Estate

Under construction, with QIZ status

Location: Within ASEZ

Size: 275 hectares

Maan Industrial Estate

Location: 7km from Maan city centre and 100km north of Aqaba port, within the Maan development area

Size: 250 hectares

Al-Muwaqar Industrial Estate

Location: 12km east of Al-Muwaqar town

Size: 250 hectares

Industries: Electronics, medical, food and beverage, engineering, wood and cardboard, textiles, chemicals and metals

Key contacts

Jordanian Free Zone Corporation

PO Box 77, Zarqa 10/131, Jordan

Tel: (+962) 5 382 6429

Fax: (+962) 5 385 6430

Email: frez@free-zones.gov.jo

Web: www.free-zones.gov.jo

Jordan Industrial Estates Company

PO Box 17, Amman 11512, Jordan

Tel: (+962) 6 402 2101

Fax: (+962) 6 402 1194

Email: info@jiec.com.jo

Web: www.jiec.com

Aqaba Special Economic Zone

Tel: (+962) 3 209 1000

Fax: (+962) 3 203 0912

Web: www.aqabazone.com

South Company for Construction and Development

PO Box 17988

Amman 11195, Jordan

Tel: (+962) 6 577 7077

Fax: (+962) 6 552 4173

Email: info@sccd.jo

Web: www.sccd.jo

Development Zones Commission

PO Box 141277

Amman 11814, Jordan

Tel: (+962) 6 580 2405

Fax: (+960) 6 580 2415

Web: www.dfzc.jo

Mafraq Development Corporation

(King Hussein bin Tala Development Area; Irbid Development Area; Business Park Development Area; and King Hussein Business Park)

Tel: (+962) 6 551 0274

Fax: (+962) 6 551 0329

Email: invest@kinghusseinzone.com

Web: www.kinghusseinzone.com

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