Mayaleh: Reserves of Hard Currency Sufficient to Support Lira Exchange Rate

DAMASCUS, (ST) - The Governor of the Central Bank of Syria (CBS), Dr. Adib Mayaleh, confirmed that the mass of foreign currency reserves in the bank is sufficient to support the balance of the lira exchange rate in the market.

During a meeting with chairman of the Damascus Chamber of Commerce(DCC), Ghassan al- Qalla' and the Board of Directors of DCC,  Dr. Mayalleh called for working  to the benefit of public interest in terms of import costs, stressing that the bank handles all importers who seek funding equally.

They discussed the financing of imports from the public and private banks to meet the needs of the local market of materials and commodities such as oils, fat, sugar, rice, along with the necessary raw materials for the pharmaceutical industry, especially milk for children and the needs of factories.

The meeting tackled necessary ways and to maintain the size of the reserve and balanced exchange rate, cooperation among all parties to retain the Syrian currency strong, maintain reasonable price and continuity for the development of commercial and banking work.

Sh. Kh.

New Tender of 100 Thousand Tons of Wheat

DAMASCUS, (ST)-The Director-General of Trade and Grain Processing Establishment , Mousa  Nawaf Ali, said in a statement to «Al- Watan Newspaper»:" the Establishment announced for a new  international tender to supply an amount of 100 thousand tons of soft wheat for flour. The tender will be on March 4 after its purchase of a quantity(100 thousand tons) of wheat on last January 29 under a tender also.

"The tender is universal , so it is non-specific origin and any state may make it because the contract is of the global market according to the specified conditions and those who met by offering the lowest price. The last tender was for the Ukraine and the price per ton where 298.70 euros including shipping and insurance fees and delivery in Syria which is equivalent to almost 30 million euros," Mr. Ali said.

"The deal is to ensure the required quantities of wheat and the country's commercial need and the strategic stock is associated with the show that what Syria possesses of this article is sufficient," he stressed .

The director also pointed out that the total amount of imported wheat, by the Establishment during the past year amounted to about 750 thousand tons,  has been  achieved through several deals varied in prices and the maximum price agreed upon at the time was 307 euros per ton, by contrast, the  second tender for 2013 is also being organized next month within the context of the plan 2012, which included the approval to import about 1.5 million tons of this material, and thus the total import so far is 850 thousand tons.

"The current season, which is usually confined in June and July, that will determine the plan of import for 2013, which will start preparing with the beginning of next August where bodies concerned agree to import any required quantity, despite the presence of a lot of optimism that there is no need to import from abroad in the light of expectations this season that promises a good season this year, especially in the eastern region," Mr. Ali clarified.

He pointed out that the Establishment faces some difficulties in the light of the sanctions imposed on the country despite the availability of foreign exchange. Among these difficulties are issues of obstruction in opening credit , and opening the bank credit gives to the supplier a timeout between two and three months to implement the contract and supply wheat.

"The Establishment  sometimes resorts to  international supervising companies  to ensure the conformity of the samples with the specifications agreed upon, including health conditions associated with issues of agricultural quarantine and other, where every shipment is checked to be sure of the safety of all shipments of execution of the contract, which typically range from 25-30 thousand tons of wheat," Ali added.

Sh. Kh.

Syria, Iraq to Enhance Economic, Trade Relations

DAMASCUS, (ST) - Iraq has agreed recently to import Syrian agricultural products that are not produced in its territories according to the schedule of agricultural seasons. Iraq's approval is considered an important step in the path of strengthening economic and trade relations between the two countries, especially because it opens the door wide in front of Syrian  agricultural exports under the crisis facing the country and the economic sanctions imposed on most economic sectors.
Certainly, opening an additional market for the Syrian products in a  brotherly and neighboring country is an important opportunity for the disposal of Syrian agricultural products. The volume of the Syrian agricultural exports to Iraq constitutes 46 percent of the total Syrian exports to the Arab countries, according to figures by the Central Bureau of Statistics.

 The Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade underlines that Syrian exports to Iraq increased during last November by 45 percent from the previous month and it is expected to double these numbers in the future after the volume of trade exchange between the two countries in 2011 reached about two billion dollars and it is expected to reach three billion dollars by the end of last year.(Statistics of 2012 has not appeared yet).
"This development in the volume of trade exchange between the two countries confirms the need to strengthen the partnership investment between them and create industrial cities and zones," the ministry said.

Association of the Development and Promotion of Syrian Exports emphasized  that development indicators of trade emerged clearly, especially in the growth rate of Syrian exports to Iraq that reached about 40 percent in the year 2011 as it was in 2010.

The Association also stressed, in a  study, that competitive trade was one of the most important economic determinants that characterized the experience of the two countries after the adoption of a strategy to encourage exports since the eighties of the last century as an alternative to a strategy of import substitution that prevailed during the period of the past three decades which shows the determinants of competitiveness between Syria and Iraq. The results of the comparison with regard to cross-border trade refers to real problems in the forefront of the high costs of commercial transport and includes the costs of direct transport such as shipping, insurance, and indirect costs such as inventory and storage as well as the costs of border crossings on the documents as a result of delays and obstruction.

The rise of customs tariff in Syria being not yet acceded to the World Trade Organization, which the comparative study shows between the two countries because of the trade and industrial policies based on the policy of import substitution to protect national and  industrial products while tariff in Iraq is separated although that Iraq is a member of the World Trade Organization.
The statistics study indicates that the terms of trade exchange is in favor of Syria and this can be explained economically that Syria can get a larger amount of imports to meet the same quantity of exports, showing that, in the past five years, the difference between the prices of exports and imports was in the interest of Syria. The value of per ton exported  to Iraq reached to its highest level in 2009 and in turn increased the value of imported ton of Iraq than 5 thousand Syrian pounds in 2005 to more than 32 thousand Syrian pounds in 2010.
The statistics show a surplus in the balance of trade between Syria and Iraq significantly and reached its highest value in 2009 to 125,711 million pounds and a growth rate of 1.6 percent in 2008,while Syrian exports to Iraq in 2010 fell, and the Syrian imports from Iraq retreated  by more than exports and thus the balance of trade maintained to a large surplus.

The geographical location is not the only reason in the development of economic and trade relations between the two countries, but there is a formal and legal framework that regulates this relationship through about 37 agreements and memoranda of understanding and protocols of cooperation in the field of scientific, technical, commercial, industrial, navigation, communications, financial and double taxation as well as abolition of import licenses for mutual Syrian commodities between the two countries.

The Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade, in the study, confirms that it has broad areas of cooperation between the two countries in the fields of trade and the establishment of centers of foreign trade and exhibitions centre and the establishment of supermarkets, storage and free zones as well as areas of cooperation with the private sector and increase investment opportunities and capital flows in addition to cooperation in the fields of finance and customs, banking industry, minerals, specifications and standards, oil and mineral wealth.
Finally, the study calls to activate the role of joint Businessmen Councils and the role of the private sector in the development of trade as well as the establishment of joint ventures, promote meetings and communications between the parties, provide all border facilities for business and cooperation between the institutions of an economic nature between the two countries, benefit from the Syrian experiences in the fields that Iraq needs in various available sectors for investment in Iraq, the development of transport, rely on rail transport between the two countries and provide all possible facilities in customs ports to facilitate the process of transfer.

Sh. Kh

"Syrian Exportation House" Future EDPA Project to Promote Exports

The Export Development and Promotion Agency (EDPA) has stressed that it will continue to support exporters during 2013 and that no amendments are made to the list of exports enjoying the EDPA support.

 "The agency is keen to support the exporters who have submitted support applications to the agency," said the EDPA Director General Eahab Smandar in a recent statement to the local press, clarifying that the agency hasn't so far earmarked any funds for exports.

''The EDPA is currently working hard to presenting the idea of establishing a Syrian exportation house for investment in cooperation between the government and the business sector," Smandar said, adding that the agency is also keen to work out special studies on promoting the Syrian products in foreign markets.

He stressed that the export-import activities have witnessed notable decline due to the repercussions of the current crisis in Syria and the West's unjust economic siege on the country.

Smandar pointed out that the EDPA is preparing a detailed analysis on the trade agreements signed between Syria and other Arab and foreign countries.

"A number of Syrian businessmen have established companies in different European countries aiming at promoting the Syrian products in Europe," Smandar said, referring in this connection to the Syrian exports centers established by Syrian businessmen in Tehran and Moscow and to other centers to be established in Iraq and Ukraine.

He hailed the EDPA keen efforts to promote the Syrian products situation in foreign markets and world exhibitions.

Smandar added the EDPA is currently studying the establishment of ''the Syrian House for Exportation'' in a number of countries to hold diverse activities, stressing that establishing such a house is an investment project aiming not only to enhance Syrian exports but also to promote Syrian culture.

 "This project has many advantages as it consolidates the relation between government bodies and businessmen who are interested in exportation and culture promotion," Smandar said.

According to him, the Syrian House for Exportation will include a permanent hall for exhibiting Syrian products, centers for holding Syrian cultural activities, bureaus for investment and tourism promotion in addition to offices for Syrian expatriates and different administrative activities.

Rawaa Ghanam

Syria to participate in Gulfood 2013

Ten Syrian companies are due to take part in the Gulfood 2013, the world's biggest annual food and hospitality show, to be held in Dubai.

Export Development and Promotion Agency said the four-day event which would be kicked off on February 25 in cooperation with the Syrian Exporters Federation (SEF) is to positively affect national economy.

The agency's statement issued on Saturday cited that the Syrian food industries have enjoyed, in the last years, a good reputation in foreign markets because of the high quality.

According to SANA, the Gulfood 2013 is to show more than 50.000 brands.

Agency's plan

Last week, the agency declared that it is planning to participate in 58 exhibitions to be mounted in German, the UAE, Japan, China, Uzbekistan, Iran, Egypt, Russia, Iraq, France, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Algeria, Tunisia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, India, and Armenia.

The declaration clarified that 17 exhibitions are specialized in textile, 13 ones in food and agriculture, 10 ones in building ad engineering, 10 ones in chemical and medicine, and 8 international ones.

The "Al-Thawra"daily reported that the agency asked state ministries to inform it about the exhibitions they want to take part in to adopt necessary measures for participation.

"The agency is to bear 50% of the whole cost of the participation," the paper said.

Basma Qaddour