In September, a Syrian business delegation visited Greece and signed an agreement with the Piraeus Chamber of Commerce, one of the first such agreements at this level after more than a decade.
Five months after Syria’s reinstatement in the Arab League, normalisation with Bashar Al-Assad seems to have yielded few Damascus concessions: captagon trade is surging, there is no sign of steps towards stabilisation, political reforms, or refugee return.
President Bashar Al-Assad’s handshake with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on September 22 marks a significant step in Syria’s reintegration into the global diplomatic sphere. Despite much fanfare, however, it is unlikely that promises by China's foreign minister Wang Yi’s “to take ties to a new level” will materialise into investments in Syria’s cash-strapped economy, given the recent decrease in China’s footprint in the country and Syria’s distressed business environment.
Syria has recently signed a memorandum of understanding on joining China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a long-term, transcontinental infrastructure and investment project that aims to economically integrate countries falling along the ancient Silk Road trade route. Although the agreement is not legally binding, Syria would benefit immensely from its prospective inclusion, as the projects brought about by the initiative would contribute to the country’s post-war reconstruction.