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Damascus Announces Establishing Syrian-Iraqi Business Council

Damascus Announces Establishing Syrian-Iraqi Business Council

Wednesday, 17 August, 2022 - 07:15
Souk al-Hamadiyah in Damascus (AFP)

The Syrian Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade issued a decision on Tuesday to establish the Syrian-Iraqi Business Council.

The Ministry designated Mohamed Nasser al-Sawwah as the President of the Council and Ziad Aubrey as a vice-chairman from the Syrian side.

According to a Ministry statement, the Council aims to strengthen the role of the private sector and to take advantage of its potential to develop economic relations between Syria and Iraq in various fields of trade, investment, industry, agriculture and tourism.

The statement underscored the importance of the Iraqi market for Syrian export products that meet the needs of the Iraqi consumer. Until 2010, Iraq imported around 46.5 percent of Syria’s overall exports to Arab States.

The Syrian and Iraqi sides maintained their economic relationship, despite the war and the turbulent situation in both countries.

Iraq is an important and close market, which remained open to Syrian products in light of international economic sanctions imposed on the Syrian regime.

The establishment of the Syrian-Iraqi Business Council coincides with the government’s decision to establish dozens of commercial companies in Syria owned by Iraqi, Iranian and Lebanese investors, the latest of which is the Nabaa Al-Maaref Company for Office Supplies, owned by Iraqi investors and headquartered in the Damascus countryside.

Still, the flow of goods between both countries faces many problems related to shipping and certificates of origin.

Those difficulties were discussed last week between the Chairman of the Damascus Countryside Chamber of Industry, Samer Al-Dibs and commercial attaché at the Iraqi embassy in Damascus Khattab Ali Ismail.

Both tackled the mechanism of economic and commercial cooperation and the ways of flowing Syrian goods to Iraq markets, in addition to organizing exhibitions, securing the shipment of Syrian goods to Iraq and solving the problems that hinder the process of exchanging goods.

The Bukamal crossing, which is controlled by the Syrian regime and located in the Iranian sphere of influence in Syria, is the most important crossing for transporting goods from Syria to Iraq.

The average commercial freight movement between the two countries is estimated at 25 trucks per day, most of which are local goods heading towards Iraq.

According to official Syrian figures, the total revenues of the crossing in 2020 amounted to about $276,000.

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