Iran eyes Syria’s $200bn emerging market
Tehran Syria leaving behind the ordeal of eight-year deadly conflict, is emerging as a market of 200 billion dollars foreign trade a year and the Iranian private sector would consider investment in Syria to help economic development of Syria.
Hassan Danaifar, a senior economic adviser to Iranian President, said that Syria is drawing attention of many Iranian businessmen as it is moving towards opening a new page in its history.
Danaifar said that the Iranian and Syrian Governments have better relations serving as a good ground for Iranian companies to carry out reconstruction and development projects in Syria.
Trade balance between Iran and Syria has risen 25% over the last six months. We hope that such trend will continue to allow more presence of Iranian companies in Syria's reconstruction drive, Danaifar said.
Now, good foundation has been laid for the presence of Iranian private sector in the Syrian market and we hope that Iranian private companies can work better in the country, he added.
The Syrian Government is trying to attract up to $200bn foreign investment for reconstruction program after eight years of a devastating conflict that has been wreaking havoc in the country.
14 Iranian business delegations have come to Syria and 22 Syrian businessmen and businesswomen have also visited Iran during the past year and that means that both countries are trying to get to know each other better, said Danaifar, who is also secretary of the committee to develop Iran's economic relations with Iraq and Syria.
61 Iranian companies took part in Damascus International Fair last month. That was the highest number of foreign companies in the fair with 138 countries taking part. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Russia were third and fourth after Iran.
Some 72 Iranian firms also participated in another exhibition in Syria aiming to attract foreign investment for its reconstruction.
Keyvan Kashefi, head of the Joint Economic Committee between Iran and Syria at Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) was cited as saying a few days ago that Bukamal border crossing between Iraq and Syria will reopen soon, bringing down transit costs of the Iranian goods to Syria via road transport. Currently, Iran ships goods to Syria via maritime transport.
Al-Qa'im border crossing between Syria and Iraq is one of the major supply routes across the Middle East. It connects the town of Abu Kamal in Syria's Deir ez-Zor Governorate to the city of Husaybah, in the Al-Qa'im District of Iraq's Anbar Governorate.
Despite great political relations between Iran and Syria, the two countries private sectors haven't been able to connect with each other and start their transactions.
Currently, there is one Iran-Syria and Syria-Iran Joint Economic Committee that was formed in January and needs to go through administrative processes to change into a Joint Chamber of Commerce between the two countries.
Iran Chamber of Commerce has bought an 11-storey building in Damascus Free Zone to house Iranian businesses taking part in Syria's reconstruction.
However, both countries are suffering from international economic sanctions and banking transactions have been a great hurdle to smooth trade ties.
Governors of Iran and Syria central banks have met several times over the past months in a bid to work out a solution for bilateral financial transactions.
Source: Islamic Republic News Agency IRNA