Jordan, like other developing countries in recent years, faces an accelerated pace of change caused by globalization, which has brought both opportunities and challenges. The opportunities for Jordan have included an Association Agreement with the European Union, a free trade agreement with the United States, and membership in the World Trade Organization. These advantages, especially the Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZ) trade arrangement with the U.S., have helped Jordan achieve a measure of industrial growth by fostering expansion of its export garment and textile industries.
Jordan faces acute challenges, however, in terms of employment and labor market outcomes. Our analysis shows that increased international trade has created jobs in Jordan, but much of the employment growth has occurred in sectors, like apparel manufacturing, that feature sub-standard working conditions or which employ significant numbers of migrant workers. In addition, because of Jordan’s QIZ arrangement, FDI entering Jordan has the potential to raise the price elasticity of Jordanian labor, holding down Jordanian workers’ wages and potentially jeopardizing quality work conditions.
These challenges are partly attributable to the lack of a coherent framework of employment promotion, as well as the separation of investment and growth policies from employment objectives. The country is at a juncture where in order to maximise the benefits of trade and investment policies, it is necessary to better articulate the linkages between trade and employment. Impact on wages, income employment opportunities and labour standards are necessary elements of impact of trade policies. If the Jordanian export industry is to become sustainable it must depend less on migrant workers and more on local workers so that the benefits of this sector can become tangible for Jordanians. In short, Jordan needs to develop a coordinated trade strategy which is socially responsible and addresses issues beyond exports such as productivity, skills, job quality, and workers’ rights.
 Exports of garments and textiles amounted to almost 30% of Jordanian exports in 2005, up from only 3% just six years earlier.