TEHRAN- The chairman of Iran-Syria Joint Chamber of Commerce announced that the value of Iran’s export to Syria rose 90 percent during the first nine months of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21-Decemebr 21, 2021), as compared to the same period of time in the past year.
Keyvan Kashefi said that Iran exported $160 million of commodities to Syria in the nine-month period of this year, while the figure was $84 million in the same time span of the past year.
Most of the exported goods were related to engineering industries (parts and components of steam turbines), food and pharmaceutical industries, he said.
Saying that Iran has exported $35 billion of goods to different countries in the first nine months of this year, Kashefi said that in this period, Syria was among the 21 countries targeted by Iran’s exports.
He put Iran’s nine-month import from Syria at $22.9 million, with 53 percent growth from that of the previous year, and named phosphate as the main imported item.
With $36.9 billion in Iranian imports in the first nine months of this year, Syria ranks 49th among the sources of imports.
As stated by the head of Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPO), the country has allocated a special budget of $50 million to support the Iranian export companies active in the Syrian market.
“Iran and Syria have good political relations and we must use this opportunity and encourage the private sector and our businessmen to enter the Syrian market and the government must do its best in this regard,” Alireza Peyman Pak said last month.
The official noted that the TPO has it on the agenda to establish offices for promoting barter trade with not only Syria but also all other neighboring countries.
“Syria imports $4 billion [of goods] annually and exports $800 million, and the country’s exports are mainly cotton,” Peyman Pak said.
“Our industries need 150,000 tons of cotton annually, so if the Syrian cotton production increases in a year or two, we intend to import it through barter trade, which requires a reliable transportation route between two countries,” he added.
There is no regular shipping line between Iran and Syria, Peyman Pak said, adding that Iranian investors could invest in establishing shipping lines if the government provides them with necessary incentives.
Iran and Syria signed four documents to boost cooperation in the fields of trade and industry during a visit of an Iranian delegation headed by the country’s industry minister to Damascus last month.
The documents were inked at the end of the two countries’ joint economic and industrial committee meetings which were held in the Syrian capital.
Meanwhile, during a three-day visit of a high-ranking Iranian economic and political delegation headed by Transport and Urban Development Minister Rostam Qasemi to Syria which started on Wednesday, the two sides discussed expansion of economic cooperation and trade ties between the two countries.
In his trip, the Iranian minister was welcomed by Syrian Economy and Foreign Trade Minister Mohammad Samer al-Khalil.
Speaking to the press at the airport, Qasemi said: “The end of the war in Syria is the beginning of a new era of economic relations between the two countries, especially since Iran and Syria have been together during the years of the war against international terrorism.”
Samer al-Khalil for his part referred to the inseparable ties between the two nations and said: “We in Syria want extensive cooperation with Iran.”
After his visit to Damascus, Qasemi announced that Iran and Syria have reached primary agreements for the establishment of a joint free zone and a joint bank during his trip.
Referring to his meeting with President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Wednesday, Qasemi said, “During the meeting with the Syrian president, the economic issues of this country, as well as the current obstacles and problems in the economic relations between Iran and Syria were discussed. A joint committee is set to be formed between Iran and Syria [to resolve such problems].”
He stated that good decisions have been made in the meetings with Syrian officials, adding: “It was decided to form a joint committee between us and Syria to follow up on the reached agreements; We have many agreements with Syria, but some of them have not been implemented, so it was decided to review these issues in a joint committee and then implement them.”
Ghasemi also pointed to his meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad on diplomatic issues between the two countries, saying, “We reached good agreements; A joint bank is scheduled to be established in Syria; In this regard, Iranian and Syrian banks should have branches in both countries.”
The minister of transport and urban development also referred to the meeting with his Syrian counterpart and said: “Transportation in various sectors is one of the important requirements for our country’s economic development; In this regard, it was decided that the head of the country’s Civil Aviation Organization would pursue executive issues in this area with the Syrian side.”
Decisions were made on various issues during the visit with Samer al-Khalil, especially the establishment of a joint free zone between the two countries, he added.