Australia and Jordan share a warm relationship with valuable historical dimensions dating back to the First World War (when Australians served as part of the Allied forces in the region, including modern-day Jordan, alongside the Sharif of Mecca’s forces in The Great Arab Revolt against the Ottomans) and including over 50 years of cultural cooperation in archaeological research. The political and economic relationship has expanded through regular high-level contact, including by ministers, parliamentary delegations and regular discussions by senior officials in a range of areas. The most recent visit by an Australian minister was by the Minister for Resources and Energy in 2009. King Abdullah made a brief visit to Darwin in June 2001 en route to East Timor to meet with some of the 3,000-strong contingent of Jordanian forces serving in East Timor as part of the UN Peacekeeping Force. Although Australia does not provide a formal bilateral development assistance program to Jordan, the two countries have a track record of cooperation on development issues, including capacity building of officials from regional countries. In 2009, Australian government assistance through third parties to border management and refugee welfare issues in Jordan was estimated at between A$6-15m (some programs being implemented across Jordan’s borders in neighbouring regions). In April 2010 Australia provided $1 million for land mine clearance on Jordan’s northern border, building on an earlier $1 million provided in 2006-07.
Bilateral commercial relations are modest and strongly in Australia’s favour. Principal exports to Jordan are live sheep and cattle, dairy and meat products. Two-way trade amounted to AUD 156m in 2009-10. Imports from Jordan, mainly fertilisers, amounted to AUD 7m. The postgraduate education sector in Jordan is also a growing market for Australian universities. In 2005 Australia concluded an MOU with Jordan on live animal shipment in order to underpin the trade and ensure respect of international animal welfare standards.