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Economy Minister: Steps to Establish Cooperation Center with Russia

DAMASCUS, (ST)- Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade, Dr. Mohamed Zafer Mahbaq,  underlined that the executive steps, for the establishment of the Joint Center for Bilateral geo-political trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation in  collaboration with the International Centre for Geo-Political Analysis and Trade Cooperation in Moscow, are going well and in accordance with serious steps.

"It was agreed with the Representative of the International Centre in Moscow - during meetings that took place in the Ministry of Economy recently - on the establishment of the center quickly and set its director and management structure to establish for a joint effective cooperation in various fields to boost particular relations in commercial trade and enhance competitive ability," Dr. Mahbaq said in a statement.
About top priorities that will be on the agenda of the center to be discussed with the Russian side, Dr. Mahbaq said they will include the discussion of granting visas to businessmen for long periods, between one and three years, and the process of paying prices of goods and materials between the two countries should be in the Syrian pounds and the Russian ruble and not to be in dollar or the euro.
Regarding the role of the center of activating cooperation between the private sector in both countries Dr. Mahbaq said that the establishment of commercial centers to urge businessmen, investors and companies to cooperate and achieve appropriate conditions for the import and investment, especially for Russian companies wishing to establish cooperation projects in the various fields.
With regard to the decisions issued by the ministry particularly import and export, Dr. Mahbaq said that all decisions to allow or prevent the export of any item will be adopted after taking the opinions and proposals of bodies concerned and most importantly the interest of the national economy and citizens, including the export of sheep.
About the Advisory Board at the ministry, which was founded months ago and met once or twice, despite the importance of meetings with the participants in it from private sector, Dr, Mahbaq acknowledged that meetings do not include the full members of the Council, as 90% of the members of the council outside the country,

but this does not mean lack of communication with others or to the Advisory Board is suspended. We, he added,  meet constantly with the President of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce, President of the Federation of Chambers of Industry and a number of traders and businessmen and this achieves communication and positive results of the various topics being discussed with them

Sh. Kh.

Food Industries, Marketing Problems Discussed

DAMASCUS, (ST) - Head of the Syrian Federation of Chambers of Agriculture, Mohammed Kashto, called for developing industries that depend on agricultural products as raw materials, and this contributes to handle marketing problems that face the increase in agricultural production in addition to generate new jobs and bring added value to encourage directing  investments towards the agricultural sector.
Mr. Kashto underlined the importance of cotton as an essential raw material to the development of industry based on agriculture and the need to give priority to textile industry and converting the largest volume of cotton production to ready-made clothes, pointing out that Syria exports 180 thousand tons per year of ginned cotton.
He explained that the conversion of one ton of fabrics to clothing could create one job opportunity which means that 180 thousand new jobs can be created, stressing the importance of going to maximize the added value of raw cotton as this value could be doubled after spinning to 6 times after being processed as ready fabrics and to 9 times when it becomes a cloth and to 13 times in the case of the finest clothing and most complex.

Mr. Kashto added that the food industry in Syria has significant advantages, especially fruits and vegetables, dairy products and olives in terms of providing the appropriate agricultural product and export markets, adding that the exploitation of these benefits is still limited.
He invited the Syrian Federation of Chambers of Agriculture to promote and develop the dairy industry and its products, to cover domestic demand and reduce the import and localization the manufacturing units to be close of production centers and introducing new technologies to have products of international features and appropriate price.

Mr. Kashto also called for investing the country's wealth of olive oil and updating patterns of pressing units and refining and reducing production costs to reach a competitive price and the development of marketing techniques in order to promote international trade reputation for Syrian agricultural products.

Sh. Kh.

Agriculture Minister Reviews Development Work in DPNER

DAMASCUS, (ST) - Minister of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, Eng. Ahmed Al- Qadri, in the presence of Minister of State for the Development Project in Northern - Eastern Region (DPNER), Najmeddine  Khreit,  and the committee concerned in the DPNER reviewed the activities carried out in the project over the past year. They also discussed the problems and difficulties hindered its progress, proposed a mechanism to overcome them and put a plan for the current year.

The minister called to coordinate the works of the project in cooperation with various relevant bodies to accomplish and evaluate the work periodically in the project and to exert efforts to improve the status of citizen in that area.
“The project, which was started by in 2008, achieved wide steps on the ground and laid important rules in the area, noting that its importance lies through the diversity of its components and the multiplicity of its services that contribute to accomplish its objectives by improving the capabilities of the society, activating its role in the sustainable development process and in mapping out development plans for the targeted villages,” the Minister of Agriculture pointed out.

“The meeting is intended to assess the achievements of the project and form the basis of the development to put strategies of work for the next phase according to a participatory approach in order to take advantage of the experience and the integration of work and in order to achieve the goal of integrated development,” Eng. Al -Qadri said.
For his part, Minister of State for the Eastern Region, Najmeddine Khreit, pointed the importance of exerting efforts for the development of the eastern region as the reservoir of Syria to secure its food basket, adding that his ministry have the powers to follow up the implementation of projects in the region and has a connection with all ministries and state institutions with respect to any project in the area.
“All ministries were asked to provide an idea of the projects and programs of work and rates of achievement, the obstacles and difficulties, indicating that rural development is one of the components for the development of that region to reach an acceptable level,” Eng. Al -Qadri added. He also stressed his willingness to cooperate with the various relevant bodies and provide the necessary support for upgrading that region through achieving sustainability of all its resources.
For his part, Director of the Development Project, Dr. Yasser Salameh, reviewed the works carried out in the project over the past year and the difficulties and problems faced the project, pointing out to the implementation of income-generating projects.

Director of the Rural Development at the ministry, Dr. Ra’ida Ayyoub, clarified that the Directorate had contributed through its work in the project to alleviate drought that hit the region where a socio-economic survey was carried out about the coming families, amounted 45, because of the drought and three work programs targeted to alleviate drought in addition to aid programs and distributing gifts, to 15453 families, of feed, seeds and sheep.

The participants recommended to establish a marketing association of buffalo products in Qamishli city and expand work with the International Center for Agriculture, implementation of modern irrigation, water harvesting in cooperation with the international organizations, implementation of 100 training units for the production of biogas and forming a joint working group of the projects funded by the International Fund for Rural Development (IFAD) to formulate a national project plan to encourage cultivation of Damascne rose.


Mapping out Appropriate Policies, Legislation for Agricultural Sector to Attract Investments

DAMASCUS, (ST) - Federation of the Syrian Chambers of Agriculture called to map out and develop appropriate policies and legislations for the agricultural sector to attract local, Arab and foreign investments to benefit from rewarding cash revenues that can be achieved in this sector.

Technical Adviser at the Federation of Chambers of Agriculture, Eng. Abdul Rahman Qrunfleh, pointed out that the role of the economic government management is reflected in its work and influence on the decisions of investors and directing them to the agricultural sector because it creates the conditions for self-development.

Eng. Qrunfleh called the government to help smallholders to overcome the obstacles they face in expanding their productive assets by providing economic incentives and creating an atmosphere of widespread agricultural investment, particularly that large-scale investments in agriculture and food production.

“The broad investment in the agricultural sector contributes to increase production and gains earned by exporters and generate employment opportunities as well as it encourages technology transfer. This mechanism encourages the owners of capitals to be of great interest in government investment in the agricultural sector as a critical factor in providing a suitable environment for private investment in this domain,” he pointed out.

“Developing the agricultural sector and food production has a significant impact on creating job opportunities, reducing poverty, promoting the national economy and converting it to an economy to be a generator of growth.  So it is necessary to support the trend towards giving priority to investments in the agricultural sector and improve their effectiveness because investment is one of the most effective strategies to combat unemployment, ensure food in the markets, and maintain low prices for consumers and this makes food accessible to everyone,” Eng. Qrunfleh clarified.

He explained that the Syrian economy is largely dependent on the agricultural sector and some 724,012 persons work in it. Some 14.32 percent of the total labor force in the country and a large proportion of the Syrian workforce are working in the agricultural manufacturing sector such as food industries and textile that based on cereals and oils, sugar, dairy, cotton, wool and leather, and this plays a crucial role in the incentive price to farmers.

Sh. Kh

CBS: USD Price at 82, 51 and Euro at 107, 69

DAMASCUS-(ST): The Central Bank of Syria set on Wednesday the purchase price of USD against SYP at 82, 51 and 83, 00 for selling.

According to the CBS bulletin of foreign currency exchange rate, the purchase price of Euro against SYP reached 107, 69 and the selling price reached 108, 45.

The price of gold for 21 carat reached SYP 4400 on Wednesday.