Customs (298)


Following growing outcry from Syria’s business community, the Syrian government has decided to expand the list of products exempted from the import ban announced on September 23.


Syria has banned the import of all products with customs tariffs of more than 5 percent, a move that signals growing nervousness over the country's foreign currency reserves and also dents into the profits of many prominent businessmen that have built their wealth on import trade.


The Syrian President has set his seal on a preferential trade agreement linking Syria with Iran that will see customs tariffs between the two countries gradually lowered in the next five years.


The Syrian government has reduced import tariffs on a wide range of consumer products and manufacturing inputs in a bid to reduce costs, as the month of Ramadan, a period of the year when demand peaks and prices rise, is set to begin.


Syria’s inflation rate measured on annual basis stood at 2.80 percent in April, from 2.74 percent in March and 4.22 percent in February, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics and the Central Bank of Syria.


The Syrian Government plans to finance its expenses by increasing its deficit and to review free trade agreements signed with partner countries, according to the Syrian President, who gave the first hints of what Syria’s future economic policy will be during a meeting with business representatives.


The number of  deaths from car accidents decreased last year in Syria, according to the Ministry of Transport.


The Minister of Social Affairs and Labour, Radwan al-Habib, has announced that the government is moving ahead with two schemes to employ more than 100,000 university graduates in the private and public sectors over the next 5 years.


Syria’s inflation rate fell to 4.22 percent on a year-on-year basis at the end of February 2011, according to the Central Bank of Syria.


Zara, the global clothing retailer, opened its first store in central Damascus on March 30.


The series of economic measures announced last week by the Syrian government are expected to represent a severe drain for the Treasury and create serious inflationary risks.


The Ministry of Transport has issued new rules regulating the car rental industry, a sector that was until then very loosely regulated.


Syria’s inflation rate continued to increase as the year began and stood at 7.13 percent on a year-on-year basis at the end of January, from 6.32 percent a month earlier, the Central Bank of Syria said.


General trading, import, export and re-export through land and sea and air cargo; internal transport; storage and assemble land and sea shipments; land and sea and air transit cargo services; marketing of national and foreign maritime companies; customs good clearance services 

Trade, import, export; goods customs clearance services

General Trading; projects management (except tourism projects); open and invest commercial shops

The number of vehicles registered in Syria stood at 2,051,977, including 838 thousand passenger cars, at the end of 2010, according to the Ministry of Transport.

The implementation of the Value Added Tax in Syria will await “the appropriate conditions and time,” according to the Minister of Finance.

Taxes and customs fees on a number of widely consumed food products have been reduced in Syria following two Presidential Decrees enacted on February 15.

The Syrian Investment Agency awarded 400 investment licenses to projects across Syria in 2010, including more than half in the manufacturing sector, a figure well above the previous year’s number.


Revenues from custom fees and tariffs increased by 16 percent last year as the Syrian Government is seeking new sources of money to fund its budget.

Syria’s budget deficit in 2009 stood at SYP 46 billion, or 1.69 percent of GDP, according to the final figures from the Ministry of Finance, well below the Government’s initial projections.

A new Presidential decree, passed on December 1, has increased customs fees by 70 percent on cars with engine sizes above 3,000 CC, according to Al Watan, a local daily.


Bahi Motors, the Syrian dealership of BMW, the German car manufacturer, has announced a year-on-year increase of 22 percent in its sales at the end of September 2010.

The number of investment projects that were licensed by the Syrian Investment Agency in the first nine months of this year, or a year-on-year increase of 74 percent.

Monoprix, a French supermarket chain, opened in first store in Syria on September 23.


Scabal, a European fabrics and luxury menswear manufacturer, is opening its first store in Damascus.


In a story published on July 26 we had reported that Syria became in 2009 a major source of medicines entering the European market in violation of intellectual property rights, according to the European Commission Customs Office.


The Fast Moving Consumer Goods sector or FMCG is a booming sector in Syria, following the liberalization of foreign trade, the establishment of free trade areas with Arab countries and Turkey and the general decrease in customs tariffs on imports.


Syria was the 4th largest source of medicines and the 5th largest source of body care items intercepted in 2009 by the EU customs for infringement of intellectual property rights.

Revenues generated by Syria’s customs stood at SYP 43 billion in the first half of this year, an annual increase of 30 percent.
A new decree issued by the Syrian President on June 22 introduces a set of measures to protect the country’s “emerging industries” against competing imports.

Bilateral trade between Syria and Lebanon fell to USD 459 million in 2009, an annual decline of 7.2 percent, according to the latest figures from the Syrian-Lebanese Higher Council, which sources its data from the Lebanese customs.


Syria ranked 104 out of 125 countries in the world and 11 out of 12 Arab countries in the Enabling Trade Index, an index produced by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Syria’s economy has problems but is not in crisis, Abdallah Dardari, Syria’s Vice Prime Minister in Charge of Economic Affairs said.

The number of business projects that have received a licence by the Syrian Investment Agency in the first quarter of 2010 increased by 87.5 percent compared to the same period of last year.


The English transcript of statements made by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and Turkish President Abdullah Gul in a joint press conference in Istanbul on May 08, 2010.

The revenues of the Syrian customs grew by 31.2 percent in the first quarter of this year, according to the Ministry of Finance.
The Military Construction Establishment, or Milihouse, is carrying a USD 17.4 million contract to reorganize the road traffic in the Kafer Sousseh district of Damascus.
Bureau Veritas and SGS have signed contracts with the Syrian Government to provide pre-shipment inspection for all products imported to Syria.
Saleh Kamel, chairman and founder of the Dallah Al-Baraka Group, called on Syria’s President to apply a Correctionist Movement to Syria’s economy.
Toyota has launched in Syria its latest generation car, Prius, the first hybrid vehicle to enter the Syrian market.
Syria ranked 80th in the world and 9th regionally in the World Bank’s Logistic Performance Index for 2010.
The Syrian-Turkish High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council (STHLSCC) wrapped up its first meeting in Damascus on December 23, with the signing of 50 memoranda of understanding and protocols of cooperation.

Syria’s pistachio production is forecast at 70,000 tons in 2009, an increase of 10,000 tons compared to last year.

The Syrian Investment Agency has recently released an update on the projects it has licensed. Many investments, however, fall outside its scope. The Syria Report talks to Ahmad Abdel-Aziz, the head of SIA.
Iraq was Syria's main trading partner last year according to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics.