Jordan: Doing business and staying in touch
Doing Business in Jordan
A good supply of business cards is essential. Business cards with colour, graphics or photos will impress, as will those with your details translated into Arabic. Formality in dress is important; men should wear a suit and tie for business meetings while women should avoid tight-fitting clothes, opt for high necklines and ensure that their arms are covered.
Arriving on time for meetings is important; even if your counterpart may be late, expect to wait. Don’t take offence if meetings are postponed, interrupted or include other people, as this is common practice.
English is widely spoken in business circles. Handshaking is the customary form of greeting. Personal relationships are central to doing business in Jordan. Always make an effort to get to know your counterpart socially before getting down to business. You can engage in small talk, but avoid making uninformed remarks about religion and politics. Islam plays an important role in society and Friday, the Muslim holy day, is a day off.
The working week is Sunday to Thursday. Most businesses also close on Saturdays, though some business people may be available. During the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, there is no lunch break and work will end around 1400 or 1500. This, and other Muslim holidays, is not a good time to do business.
Sun-Thurs 0830-1800 with a lunch break from 1300-1500.
Government office hours: Sun-Thurs 0800-1500. During the month of Ramadan, working hours are greatly reduced.
Jordan's agricultural sector produces tomatoes, citrus fruit, cucumbers, watermelons, aubergines and wheat, mostly grown in the fertile ground along the Jordan Valley. Phosphate mining and potash extraction are the traditional industries; petroleum refining, chemical manufacturing and the production of metals and minerals also contribute to this sector. The service sector accounts for around two-thirds of total output and covers wholesale and retail trading, finance, transport and tourism.
Jordan is a member of various pan-Arab economic bodies, notably the Council of Arab Economic Co-operation and the Arab Monetary Fund. Jordan also belongs to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and has a free trade accord with the USA and an association agreement with the EU.
Employment is proving a challenge for the government and many Jordanian workers have moved abroad in search of employment - a trend the government is trying to reverse. To help improve productivity and make Jordan a more attractive country for foreign investment, the government has reduced its debt-to-GDP ratio. A major challenge now facing Jordan is reducing dependence on foreign grants.
US$38.6 billion (2016).
Phosphates, potash, fertilisers, pharmaceuticals and clothing.
Crude oil, manufactured goods, machinery and textile fabrics.
Main trading partners
Saudi Arabia, USA, Iraq, China (PR) and India.
Keeping in Touch in Jordan
Phone cards are available in most big cities and major tourist sites. Cards can be purchased at numerous shops. International calls from hotels and post offices carry a three-minute minimum charge and calls made from hotels can be expensive. Internet cafes offer free or low-cost VOIP calling.
Roaming agreements exist with many international mobile phone companies. Coverage is good.
There are internet cafes throughout the country.
Independent global rights organisation Freedom House calls Jordan “not free”. The press is heavily regulated and controlled, free speech is limited, and new laws censoring the internet came into force in 2013. State-run Jordan Radio and TV broadcasts in Arabic, English and French. The main English-language newspaper is the Jordan Times, a daily, which follows the government line. The Star comes out weekly. News websites offering a livelier independent view of local life include www.ammonnews.net, www.7iber.com and www.black-iris.com. Some are blocked in Jordan.
Airmail to Western Europe takes three to five days. If you send packages via Jordan Post (www.jordanpost.com.jo), leave them open for customs inspection – and only send from main post offices in large cities. For a higher charge, there is a rapid service guaranteeing delivery within 24 hours to around 22 countries. A better option for sending packages may be to use a local branch of one of the global courier firms, such as DHL, Fedex or Aramex.Post Office hours
Sat-Thu 0800-1900 (summer) or 0700-1700 (winter), Fri 0700-1300.