Retail & Trade

The Syrian government and the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria appear to have reached trade deals for certain commodities needed in the northeast and wheat needed in regime-held areas. 
Although Jordan is at the forefront of rapprochement efforts with the regime, its air force allegedly launched two airstrikes over southern Syrian territory, killing an infamous drug lord and destroying a drug factory. The strikes came less than a week after Damascus agreed to tackle drug trafficking on its border with Jordan and Iraq and days after Amman seized its largest captagon shipment of the year.
Syrian-Chinese trade in 2022 reached its lowest point in 20 years due to surging global shipping costs, although China continues to rank among Syria’s largest trade partners. Meanwhile, Beijing’s contributions to earthquake relief have been minimal relative to other donors.
Lebanon’s exports to Syria increased by 290 percent last year, according to the Lebanese Customs Authorities. Curiously, one commodity, polyethylene, made up 74 percent of Lebanon’s exports to Syria last year, surging by nearly 30,000 percent year-on-year despite accounting for lower volumes.
The Iranian Cabinet has recently amended its free trade agreement with Syria to lift all customs tariffs on Syrian goods – an agreement that has been in the work for over a decade. Iran’s state-owned media outlet also stated that the Syrian government approved the recent amendment, though Syrian state officials have yet to make a statement on the matter.
Syrian-Russian bilateral trade more than tripled in 2021, official records indicate, making Russia Syria's second-largest trade partner. Russian exports represented 98 percent of total trade between the two countries, in line with previous years.
Although Iranian goods are banned by the Syrian Salvation Government, the political arm of Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, and the Turkish-backed Syrian Interim Government, they are nonetheless largely available in markets in northern and northeastern Syria due to their low prices. Though several social media campaigns have called for the boycott of Iranian goods on political grounds, financial difficulties appear to trump all other concerns as demand remains high.
Iran’s non-oil trade with Syria in the first 9 months of the Iranian calendar year (March-December 2021) increased by 85 percent compared with the same period in 2020, according to Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines, and Agriculture. Trade between the two countries is likely to be higher than the reported figures if oil exports to Syria were included, as well as Iranian trade through the United Arab Emirates.
Commercial traffic across the Nassib-Jaber border crossing has improved after cross-border operations resumed in September. Meanwhile, local media in Syria have reported that revenues for the Syrian side of the crossing reached SYP 84 billion since the beginning of the year, a figure that should be taken with caution.