Retail & Trade
Syria's foreign trade recorded a positive balance of SYP 28.82 billion (USD 554 million) in the first nine months of 2003.
Syria has recorded a USD 620 million positive trade balance in the first half of the year, according to Teshreen, the state-owned daily.
The Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade (now the Ministry of Trade) has lifted its ban on the import of artificial flowers.
The latest measure on foreign exchange is meant to simplify operations for exporters, reduce fake export operations and strengthen the national currency.
Syria’s economic and business relationship with Turkey has grown in importance after the closure of the Iraqi market to Syrian businessmen.
Syria's accession bid to the World Trade Organisation was boosted by the declaration of the third Euro-Mediterranean Trade Ministerial Conference, which took place in Palermo, Italy on 7th July 2003.
In spite of an official desire, in both Damascus and Beirut, of a strengthening of the economic relations between the two countries, the official level of bilateral trade continues to remain extremely modest and even witnessed a sharp fall last year.
Syria and Yemen have ratified an agreement signed between them to encourage direct investments between them.
Following the meeting of the Syrian-Greek Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC), held in Damascus on February 22 and 23, bilateral economic relations between these two politically close countries are expected to receive a boost.
An important British business delegation held a round-table meeting with a number of Syrian businessmen in Damascus on February 17, the second such encounter after a first meeting held last July.
The visit to Damascus of Turkish State Minister Kursat Tuzmen, at the head of a 200 strong business delegation, provided him with the opportunity to offer Syria several trade boosting propositions.
The Syrian President issued on January 28 a new decree regulating investment in the country's free trade zones (FTZ).
The growing integration of Syria to the regional and world economy has been one of the most important aspects of its economic policy in the last 3 years and its rising exports are believed to be one of the main factors behind last year's resumed economic growth.
Syria and the United Arab Emirates have signed a bilateral agreement scrapping customs duties and taxes on all national commodities produced in the two countries with effect from 1 January 2003.
Syria's Minister of Economy, Ghassan al-Rifai, authorised the Commercial Bank of Syria (CBS), the country's main bank, to set aside USD500 million annually as credit facility to pay for raw material import requirements by industrialists and traders.
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