Proposals for the Development of Economic Cooperation with Latin America Rich and Various, Investment Opportunities to Increase Trade Volume

The Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade has prepared a study on the prospects of cooperation with Latin American countries and how to benefit from the available advantages between the two sides. Out of this idea that economic blocs are one of the tools with a view to coordinate economic policies in its various features and the abolition of customs barriers and non-tariff in order to achieve rapid growth rates in their economies, increase cooperation, face various transformations and developments in the global economy, and to engage in many of the regional economic blocks based on the idea of reaching the goal and, consequently, economic integration.

Special treatment
 The Ministry of Economy, in this study, concluded that the great rapprochement between Syria and a number of Latin American countries in many economic indicators to reach the fruitful cooperation between the two sides should deal with this special treatment for several reasons:
- The important and significant role played by these countries at the global level of all aspects of political, economic, social and in particular countries of Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina and the impact of the economies of these countries at the regional level and in the global economy.

- Common economic interests on which to build a strategy for cooperation based on mutual benefit.

- The absence of a large Arab community in general and Syria in particular in those countries (Countries of Expatriates) and the weakness of joint economic, and social activities that acquaint with Syria’s tourist, and cultural aspects and encouraging investment in Syria, and the absence of media in informing the general public, business and economic events on the economies of these countries in the definition of its effective role on the global economy, and vice versa.

- Depending upon the existing economic relations between Syria and these countries in finding ways for economic cooperation with other countries in the American region (Central and South).
- Support that could be received by Syria through the consolidation of relations with these countries.

Constraints but ..!
The Ministry of Economy showed the presence of basic impediments to the implementation of Syria’s orientation towards the block mentioned above and the work to overcome these obstacles with the agreement of all parties including:
- The remote geographical distance between Syria on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean and Latin American countries bordering on the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
- Constant pressure for governments of Western countries on Latin American governments to seize political and independent economic decision.
- The role of multinational corporations in these countries, which constitutes an economic pressure on their governments, on the one hand, and to meet these states’ declared and undeclared desires in steering the economy in general, foreign direct and indirect investments and monopoly in particular.

- The absence of a legal framework that regulates economic relations both financial, trade and investment relations between Syria and some important countries in the region.

- The scarcity of information, economic and trade statistics and the needs of the markets for goods and services to most of Latin American countries.
- The lack of commercial Missions or commercial representation in Syria for these countries and vice versa.

- Scarcity of mutual investment projects between Syria and these countries at the public and private sectors.

Trade balance is loser

Through a quick look at the attached table on exports and imports for the Syrian Arab Republic with Latin American countries, we notice the weakness in the values and sizes of commodity exchange between Syria and these countries. So the Syrian economy can exploit the great opportunities in this part of the world, for example, Syrian exports to the Latin American countries in 2007 are estimated at $ 11.4 million compared to imports worth about $ 347 million. In 2008, the Syrian exports to these markets increased to $ 34 million and imports increased at a value of $ 548 million.
While exports in the year 2011 reached $ 53 million against imports from the Latin markets valued at $ 369 million..
Thus through the comparison between the figures mentioned and the accompanying table, we find that the trade balance tends toward the countries of Latin America, but what we need in the future is to benefit of the comparative advantages and expand our trade with these countries.

Joint ventures
The Ministry of Economy has set a number of proposals to activate cooperation between the countries of Latin America and make use of the growing economic and political relations, including:

-The need to organize economic cooperation with Latin American countries and the Syrian Arab Republic in all forms of trade and investment and technical cooperation as well as  encouraging reciprocal protection of investments, avoiding double taxation and a cooperation national banks.

- Establishing commercial missions to Syria in some Latin American countries.

-Holding talks with some Latin American countries, joined to the World Trade Organization (WTO), to help Syria to join the WTO through signing Memorandums of Understanding (M o U) in the field of cooperation of the WTO’s affairs that includes offering technical assistance and scientific expertise.

  -The work with some countries in Latin America to prepare a visit to a Syrian economic delegation to these countries to hold meetings at the official level and to be chaired by the Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade and accompanied by a delegation of Syrian businessmen to explore opportunities for a  possible cooperation on the ground.
- The work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates  through effective steps, and adopting the necessary measures to motivate the Latin bloc to complete an agreement on establishing a free trade zone with the Syrian Arab Republic.
- Speed up the talks between public institutions and the business sector in Syria with institutions and companies from selected countries in Latin America to conclude equal deals or commodity bargain with Syrian goods that can be circulated in the markets of these countries.
- Start preparing for exhibitions of Syrian products in a number of countries in South America, which would give a clear idea of the various Syrian products.
- giving specialized lectures for Syrian producers and traders who want to enter the markets of Latin America in the field of economic, productivity models  and markets.
- Studying the potential of opening Syrian commercial centers in a number of countries in Latin America.
- Optimization of catalysts provided by these countries for foreign direct and indirect investments by Syrian investors.

- The work with businessmen councils and federations of chambers and business sectors in Syria to put a package of specific Syrian investments and on the basis of quality, not quantity, and that can compete in the markets of these countries.

Activating economic cooperation
From the above it can be said: These proposals in all its forms can be put up for discussion during the meetings that will be held later to reactivate the economic and trade cooperation between Syria and the countries of Latin America, whether with the directorates, institutions and companies affiliated to the ministry or with other concerned bodies after taking the Prime Minister’s approval in this regard from ministries, associations, federations and the business sectors.
Sh/ Kh