By: Ebrahim Fallahi

Iranian, Syrian private sectors seek to bolster trade ties

May 1, 2019

TEHRAN – Iranian and Syrian officials, entrepreneurs and businessmen once again came together on Wednesday in a business forum in Tehran to explore ways for enhancing trade ties.

The business forum which marked the two sides’ sixth gathering in the past six months was hosted by Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA).

The event was attended by a Syrian trade delegation headed by the Chairman of Chamber of Industry of Damascus and its Countryside, Samer al-Debes, the Chairman of Iran-Syria Joint Economic Committee Keyvan Kashefi, Hassan Danaiefar the senior advisor to Iran’s first vice president in Syria and Iraq affairs, as well as the Syrian Ambassador to Tehran Adnan Mahmoud and representatives of Iranian private companies.

During the gathering, several senior officials delivered speeches and afterwards the two sides’ companies held B2B meetings to get to know each other and acquire information on their potentials and capacities.

Bilateral trade low despite high political ties

Addressing the forum, the Chairman of Iran-Syria Joint Economic Committee Keyvan Kashefi mentioned the good political relations between the two countries and criticized the mismatch between the level of economic ties and political ones.

The official mentioned some of the hurdles in the way of developing trade between the two countries including lack of strong banking relations, high tariffs on some of the Iranian goods, weak insurance policies and coverage and lack of desirable ways of transportation.

He called for both sides taking necessary measures in order to fill this gap and escalate the two countries trade ties to the levels of political partnership.
He further voiced Iranian companies and private sector’s readiness for cooperation with their Syrian counterparts in reconstruction of Syria noting that Iran is going to have a significant role in Syria’s future markets.

Kashefi also underlined the strategic and geographical situation of Syria stressing the fact that Syria could be used as a hub for exporting Iranian goods to other countries.

The official mentioned technical and engineering services, water and wastewater, medicine and pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, mining, construction materials and transportation and tourism as some of the potent areas for mutual cooperation.

Iran, Syria’s top priority in trade
Samer Al-Debes for his part, expressed gratitude for Iran’s efforts in helping his country regaining peace and stability and noted that the Islamic Republic is Syria’s top trade partner and first priority in reconstruction of the war-torn country.

The official pointed to some positive meetings which he had with senior Iranian officials on enhancement of economic ties between the two countries private sectors and noted that the Syrian government will take all necessary measures to remove the existing barriers and facilitate trade for the two sides’ businessmen.

“We need to raise awareness and pave the way for the two sides’ private sectors to get to know each other’s potentials and capabilities.” 

Exchanging trade delegations and holding specialized exhibitions in the two countries was offered by Debes as a way to achieve the above goal.

Implementing previous agreements

In another part of the event, Hassan Danaiefar, the senior advisor to Iran’s first vice president in Syria and Iraq affairs, also addressed the forum emphasizing the importance of the event.

“This event marks the sixth gathering of the two sides’ private sectors in the past six month and that is an indication of the two countries determination for boosting economic ties just like the positive political relations.”

Danaiefar stressed the need for implementing and acting upon the previously reached agreements between the two sides, noting “The free trade agreement and the strategic economic cooperation agreement have provided the necessary bases for fruitful economic relations and the private sectors of the two countries should act on them to reach the desirable trade.”

Adding to the number of direct flights between the two countries, establishing joint ventures and opening representative offices for the private companies in the two countries were other suggestions presented by the official in order to further develop mutual trade ties.

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