TEHRAN (Iran News) – Head of Iran-Syria Economic Office in Adlib of Syria says despite good relations between the two countries, the trade between them is not satisfactory, adding that Turkey has 26 percent of Syria’s market through the smuggled goods.
Speaking to ILNA, Mehdi Abbasi said that Iran has a one-billion-dollar credit line with Syria which is slightly clandestine and it should be open while Russia has a 5-billion-dollar credit line with Syria and it shows the opportunities openly and practically.
On the current trade between Tehran and Damascus, he said Iran’s exports volume has been around $17.5b in five months this year while the country’s exports to Syria in this period have been just $85.5m through the official channels which accounts for around 2.5 percent of its exports and it is unsatisfactory. He went on to say that $37m of $85.5m of exports to Syria is just for export of steam turbine and the country should expand this field of export in Syria.
Abbasi went on to say that in the same period, Iran’s imports have been around $16.5b while the country’s exports to Syria have been $11m which accounts for 1.5 percent of its total imports. He noted that despite vows and claims by both private and government sectors, the trade between Iran and Syria has not seen any tangible change.
He stated that the new laws in Syria which were imposed last week, wherein the government banned imports of ceramic, raisins and almond, have been all blows to Iran’s free trade with Syria and at least Syrian government should act differently regarding Iran.
Abbasi added that Syria is moving towards self-sufficiency and it needs more raw materials and for this reason it has cut the number of imported items into Syria. He reiterated that Iran has a high capacity in barter trade with Syria and Tehran can take advantage of it and lack of the joint bank can be replaced through bartering.
He said Iran is the only country which has free trade agreement with Syria which has been signed in 2011 and the custom tariff for Iranian goods is between one to four percent except for 88 items of goods which has not been changed since then while Iran has always in the hard times been beside this country.
Abbasi also called for implementing the previous agreements with Syria rather than signing the new ones, adding that Iran has 37 agreements and MoUs with Syria but the country still seeks new ones while the previous ones have not come into effect yet.
He welcomed using the national currencies between Tehran and Syria and said if in the second credit line the national currencies are used, it can be very helpful. Abbasi noted that some Iranian companies which have previously been in Syria are not used properly, adding that these companies know Syria and its economic capacities very well and some of them have been in Syria even before 2011 and Iran can take advantage of their capacities.
He also urged Iranian media to paint a better picture of Syria in covering news related to Syria and encourage business activists for investment in Syria otherwise this opportunity of investment will be wasted.
Abbasi went on to say that the transit route of Iran-Iraq-Syria is not ready yet. He said that Iran has no land access to Syria while Iraq by opening passages to Saudi Arabia and Jordan benefits very much. He continued to say that Iran has many things to say in the field of technical and engineering services in Syria and today Syria is in dire need of it.
He said Iran, Lebanon and Syria have good potentials for cooperation in energy sector, adding that Syria and Lebanon face problem in supply of electricity and they are after providing it through Jordan or Egypt.
Abbasi said that some of big Iranian companies are not deployed in Syria and they are busy with construction of power plants, and pointed to the project of doubling the current 270 megawatts of electricity capacity of Adlib power plant.
He also criticized the headquarters for promoting Syria-Iran-Iraq ties for being very passive in Syria, adding that Iran does not yet have any commercial attache in Syria.