Economy Minister elaborates on the politics involved in Syria's economy

The Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade Mohammad Samer al-Khalil held a press conference on Wednesday on the new investment law No. 18 and other economic topics.

He told reporters at the beginning of the conference: "Investment is an important topic in the current stage. As you know the infrastructures of the production sector have been systematically destroyed, and the year 2013 was the worst year in the field of economy as inflation reached 82%".

He went on to say that in 2016, 2017,  and 2018, some facilities were recovered after the liberation of lands from terrorist groups.

The minister clarified that the Syrian economy before the war had strong points that provided it with immunity. "Some of these points were small debts , the indicators  showing growth of 5% between  2005-2015.

On May, 19, 2021, President Bashar al-Assad issued the new Investment Law no. 18 for the year 2021.

This Law aims at finding a competitive investment environment to attract capitals, benefit from the different expertise and specializations and expand the base of production, increasing Job opportunities, raising the rates of economic growth in a way that positively affects the increase of national income to reach an overall and sustainable development.

On this point, Al-Khalil said that the new law takes into consideration the challenges and priorities and guarantees and it is based on ensuring guarantees, facilitating measures, deadlines to obtain a  license for investment in 30 days max. He added that the advantages are given to the projects that are at the priority of the government in order to encourage investors to carry out projects in those fields.

He affirmed that government works on protecting local production and supporting investors. "The government's decision of importing knitted fabrics is right and will not affect local production."

Answering a question on Syrian-Iranian economic cooperation, , the minister  said that there is a joint bank to facilitate money transfer between the two countries as there are sanctions imposed on both of them.

"Syria's friends have a priority in taking part in the reconstruction process," Al-Khalil reiterated.

He in addition talked about the importance of Syria's participation in Expo2020 in Dubai. "When we went to Dubai, we met Syrian expatriates in the UAE , who wanted to carry out investment projects. And there are UAE companies that are asking questions about investment in Syria."

The minister referred to the agreement signed between Syria and United Arab Emirate's Company to set up a photoelectric station.

Syria and UAE agreed on establishing a joint business council to restore cooperation in the economic field.  

Three days ago, the United Arab Emirates' Economy Ministry wrote on Twitter that the value of non-oil trade between the two countries in the first half of 2021 was one billion dirhams ($272 million).

Furthermore, the minister asserted that now there is no communication with Saudi Arabia and Qatar at an economic level.  

He indicated that China comes first in trade exchange with Syria, while Russia comes in the 2nd or 3rd place.

"Trade exchange with Russia has improved because of the efforts being exerted by the Syrian and Russian companies," Al-Khalil said.

Regarding the losses of the economic sector during the years of war, the minister declared that there are no final statistics about the losses as some areas are still outside the control of the state. But he pointed out that the losses of the electricity sector until 2020 hit $100 billion, while the losses of the oil sector hit $95billion.

The press conference was held at the headquarters of the Ministry of Information Ministry in Damascus.

Reported by:

Editor-in-chief: Reem Haddad

Journalist: Basma Qaddour