Syria’s government has agreed to allow the import of approved products from Saudi Arabia as listed under an official import application guide. The allowed products include chemicals, petrochemicals and sugar.
Sources explained to Athr Press that “the approval came based on the demands of traders to allow the import of some materials from Saudi Arabia as they are available to them and constitute major inputs in several local industries, especially with regard to the plastic, food and other industries.”
The sources told Athr Press that “the decision to allow the aforementioned import was approved after the approval of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates and other relevant ministries such as the economy and internal trade.”
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According to experts and observers, this indicates that there is a political message from this decision, given that the recommendations of the Economic Committee in this regard are rarely linked to the approval of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants.
Damascus Chamber of Commerce explains:
Commenting on the decision to allow imports from the Saudi market and the importance of this decision on the local economic reality, Mohammed Al-Hallaq, a member of the Board of Directors of the Damascus Chamber of Commerce, confirmed in an interview with Athr Press that “the shorter the procedures required to import from abroad, especially with regard to the materials allowed to be imported according to the guide determined by all countries, the better it will be for Syria and the materials will be available at a lower price.”
In terms of the positive effects of the decision, Hallaq explained that this measure would have positive effects, especially with regard to Syria’s exports of vegetables, fruits and others to Saudi Arabia. Instead of cars returning empty, they return loaded. Therefore, the exporter benefits from car wages, and the cost reflected on it decreases. At the same time, the importer benefits between the wages and burdens of loading decrease, so the benefit is shared.
Review of “Syrian-Saudi” Trade Relations
Trade relations between Syria and Saudi Arabia witnessed a significant decline in the past war years. Trade exchanges (exports and imports) with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates recorded a clear decline of 60%, as the value of trade exchanges between Syria on the one hand and Saudi Arabia and the UAE on the other hand in 2010 amounted to about $ 1.724 billion. Its value in 2020 did not exceed more than $ 675 million, according to Al-Mayadeen Net.
In mid-October 2020, economic reports revealed the volume of trade exchange between Syria and Saudi Arabia in the first seven months of that year. The value of Syrian exports to Saudi Arabia amounted to about 140 billion Syrian pounds, while the value of imports from them was about 370 million Syrian pounds.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.