This paper looks upon the developments of Free Trade Agreements in relation to security aspects in the Middle East, with a special concern of the Jordanian situation. The author analyses the trade relations between Jordan and the EU as well as the US and compares these relations to the ones of other countries in the region with the two major western trading blocs. After a description of the historical development of these relations, the author provides a picture of the current situation and brings forward an outlook of the possible developments including problems that might occur.
National Security Aspects of Western-Middle East Free Trade Agreements
1 IntroductionSince the 1980s, both the European Union and the US have increasingly sought to consolidate and strengthen their strategic positions in the Middle East through a variety of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and related commercial diplomacy.' By the beginning of the 90s, the EU had signed a series of Association Agreements (AAs) with a number of Middle East countries, an important step towards free trade, while the US had concluded its first FTA ever with Israel. However, after the signature of the Israeli-Palestinian peace accord in 1993 and the conclusion of the Israel-Jordan peace treaty in the following year, non-economic conditionalities and linkages to free trade gained further importance as attempts towards achieving Arab-Israeli peace intensified; with the launching of the European-Mediterranean (Euro-Med) Barcelona Process in the middle of the last decade,2 and the beginning of US-Jordanian steps towards freer trade, including the introduction of the very first Qualifying Industrial Zone (QIZ) trilateral (US-Jordan-Israel) accord in the late 90s, yet more attempts at freeing trade took place.This has been especially true of the US in the past five years. While security considerations had influenced US trade policymaking in the 1990s and before, the relationship between international trade and national security was on the mind of the GEORGE W. BUSH administration from its very beginning. However, this emphasis intensified as the events of 11 September 2001 highlighted the impact of Middle Eastern political, social, and economic problems on US national security. Shortly after 911, the connection between trade policy initiatives and security was strengthened as the US administration argued that global trade liberalis...