Speculation abounded regarding what President Trump would discuss with Jordanian King Abdullah II as he welcomed him to the White House earlier this week. It has been reported that the King was pushing for Trump’s support of the “Two State Solution” in the Middle East. The White House had said the allies would be discussing “terrorism, the threat from Iran and the crisis in Syria, and working towards a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.” A video of the meeting focuses on immigration policy. An issue paper posted on WhiteHouse.gov gives further detail:
“America always has looked to Jordan as a valued partner, an advocate for the values of civilization, and a source of stability and hope.”
–President Donald J. Trump
President Trump views Jordan as a key strategic ally, and looks to build on the strong, decades-long relationship between the United States and Jordan. Jordan plays a vital role in addressing many of the highest priority challenges facing the region countering the threat of ISIS; supporting a peaceful political transition in Syria; and expanding prosperity across the region. Jordan is a key partner in efforts to achieve a lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
President Trump looks to expand the deep trade relationship that exists between our two countries. The United States is Jordan’s largest trading partner. In 2017, total bilateral trade in goods between the two countries exceeded $3.6 billion. Jordanians buy apples from Washington State, American-made cars, and numerous other American products and services. Americans can purchase Jordanian pharmaceutical products, as well as cosmetics, jewelry, and camping gear. In 2000, the United States signed a Free Trade Agreement with Jordan, the first signed in the Arab world, and the first to include provisions on labor, the environment, and e-commerce.
The United States and Jordan have long been security partners and work together to improve the economic situation in the region. In February 2018, the United States and Jordan signed a 5-year Memorandum of Understanding, in which the United States committed to requesting $1.275 billion in security and economic assistance annually for Jordan from Congress between 2018 and 2022. The United States has long provided Jordan with military and economic assistance. The United States remains Jordan’s largest donor of bilateral economic assistance, providing $832 million in Economic Support Funds in 2017. In 2017, the United States provided Jordan with $470 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF), making it the third-largest FMF recipient in the world.
With American assistance, Jordan has taken on significant responsibility for humanitarian relief in the Middle East. Jordan continues to host refugees from across the region who have fled violence, including many from neighboring Syria and Iraq. To date, the United States is the largest single donor contributing to the Syria humanitarian response. The United States has provided more than $1.1 billion in humanitarian aid to organizations assisting Syrian refugees and vulnerable host community members in Jordan since the start of the crisis. The United States supports other refugee populations in Jordan through contributions to regional and international aid organizations.
The United States and Jordan have a long and extensive history of interaction between our peoples. Approximately 7,300 Jordanians have participated in the State Department’s various exchange programs. Alumni include government ministers, journalists, artists, educators, and successful entrepreneurs. As part of the Fulbright program, 27 Jordanians are currently studying, conducting research, or teaching in the United States, and 35 Americans are doing the same in Jordan.