Economy Minister: Private sector still exporting to over 80 countries

Damascus, SANA – Economy and Foreign Trade Minister Adib Mayyaleh said that the new mechanism for granting import licenses is clear, transparent, and achieves equality, noting that it revitalized local production since it focuses on production requirements and raw materials, which amounted to 95% of imports 4 months after implementing the mechanism.

In a statement to SANA’s correspondent, Mayyaleh said that the import licenses granted to the private sector increased from EUR 2.656 billion in 2015 to 3.493 billion in 2016, while imported products decreased from 3 billion to 2.617 billion, which shows that there’s more reliance on local production.

He went on to say that the private sector’s exports increased from EUR 429 million in 2015 to 563 million in 2016 with an increase of 31%, adding that the trade balance has improved 16% in 2016 compared to the previous year, with the ratio of exports to imports improving 26%, meaning that for every USD 100 spent by the private sector on imports, it recovered 26 as opposed to 17 in 2015, which shows that national economy is recovering.

Commenting on talk of specific people monopolizing the import of sugar, Mayyaleh said that importing sugar is open to anyone who wants to do it, and statistics show that in 2016 there have been 64 importers of sugar, which indicates that there is no monopoly on this item.

He said that the recent expo activities witnessed recently in Damascus shows that local production is improving and Syrian products can compete on an international level despite difficulties in challenges, asserting that the private sector is still exporting to over 80 countries.

On the issue of permitting the importation of new and used cars which some sites have been reporting on, Mayyaleh denied that any such decision was issued, affirming that there has no such permission to import cars at all.

He said that the decision which was issued to collect customs for armored cars and resolve their status was issued as a necessity due to the presence of a number of such vehicles with no legal license plates which necessitated resolving their status, adding that this provides money for the state treasury as the owner of such a car would pay sums of SYP 50 million or more for the settlement.

The Minister also affirmed the importance of the contracts signed by Syria and Iran in early 2017 as part of the joint economic cooperation agreement, because they bring foreign investments to Syria and considerable capital used for land reclamation, livestock, mining, fuel reserves, and cellular networks projects.

Mayyaleh concluded by affirming that all states seek to attract foreign investments because they benefit citizens and create job opportunities, thereby increasing national production, economic activity, and the GDP.

Hazem Sabbagh

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