Come and Go? How Temporary Visa Works Under U.S. Bilateral Trade Agreements with Arab countries

Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law 24:145-158 (2010)
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The United States (U.S.) and Jordan launched negotiations for a free trade agreement in 2000.The US-JO FTA includes a preamble, nineteen articles, three annexes, joint statements, memorandums of understanding, and side letters. In addition to the interesting articles on labor and environment, the US-JO FTA provides the opportunity for Jordanian nationals to come to the U.S. to make investments and participate in trade. Under certain conditions, Jordanian nationals can enter the U.S. to render professional services. The purpose of this article is to examine in detail article 8 of the US-JO FTA which relates to entry of nationals of one party into the territory of the other. The article starts by providing a brief background of the negotiation and conclusion of the US-JO FTA. Then, the article analyzes in detail the specific provision related to temporary entry of nationals. The article draws a comparison between US-JO FTA with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the more recent trade agreements between the U.S., Oman, Bahrain, and Morocco. Finally, the article observes that although the US-JO FTA, like all US FTAs, is designed to permit temporary entry, without intent to establish permanent residence, of persons, the U.S. should have provided Jordan with special and differential treatment for entry of its nationals. Taking into account the special circumstances of Jordan as a developing country with low-income status, high unemployment rate, and lack of resources, movement of business visitors, investors, intra-company transferees, and professionals should have been dealt with leniency so that the FTA could generate effective and real market access.



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Bashar H. Malkawi
University of Arizona

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