Since independence, Jordan has imported far more than it has
exported. Throughout the 1970s, the gap widened as imports grew
faster than exports.
Jordan did not seek to achieve a trade balance with any major
trading partner. In the mid-1980s, the United States and Western
Europe supplied almost 50 percent of Jordan's imports, while Arab
nations purchased nearly half of the country's exports.
Although Jordan's merchandise trade deficit was always high,
the total volume of external trade--defined as imports plus
exports--was much higher, indicating that exports were significant
enough to offset part of the large import bill. Between 1982 and
1985, as economic growth slowed, import volume contracted by about
4 percent per year. Exports grew by about 5 percent per year during
the same period, shrinking the annual trade deficit from more than
JD800 million in the early 1980s to JD623 million in 1985. In 1987
the total value of imports was about JD916 million while total
exports were valued at about JD249 million, leaving a trade deficit
of JD667 million.
Data as of December 1989