Retail & Trade
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.
Adnan Suleiman, the Director-General of Syria's free zones organization (GOFZ), announced new expanding figures for the activity of the countries six free trade areas (FTA).
A preliminary protocol was signed by Syria and Tunisia for the set up of a free trade zone between these two countries, said Al Baath.
Syria has abolished the market monopoly of import agents in a move aiming at liberalizing foreign trade and reducing import costs.
Syria's private sector exports raised to USD754.3 million in the first half of the year, from USD304 million in the same period of last year, a 150 percent year-on-year increase.
Bilateral trade between the Czech Republic and Syria reached USD65.6 million in the first half of this year, from USD53.2 million for the whole of last year.
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