Arab Participation in Damascus International Fair Explored Business Opportunities in Syria

DAMASCUS, (ST)-Among the things that distinguished the 61st Damascus International Fair, which was concluded on September 6th,  was the wide Arab participation embodied in dozens of companies and businessmen from Oman, Yemen, Iraq, UAE, Egypt , Algeria and Lebanon.

These delegations came to Syria to explore trade and investment opportunities, enhance economic cooperation with Syria and find ways to participate in the country's reconstruction process, particularly as the security situation is gradually getting better here with the liberation of most areas from terrorism.

The Iraqi delegation, which represented both the public and the private sectors, comprised more than 100 Iraqi companies, businessmen and businesswomen concerned in various trade activities.

The Syriantimes e-newspaper visited the Iraqi pavilion where a variety of key Iraqi industries were exhibited, including high quality leather products, electrical equipments, dates products and textiles.

"Joint trade between Iraq and Syria is distinguished. It never stopped during the terrorist war on both countries. The two neighbors will continue to seek boosting trade exchange and new aspects of economic cooperation, Alaa Abdul Saheb al-Noori, member of the Board of Baghdad Chamber of Commerce told Syriatimes.

He hoped that al-Qaem crossing between the two countries will hopefully open by the end of this September to help increase trade exchange in a way that reflects positively on the development of the Syrian and Iraqi economies.

According to al-Noori, the fair's slogan "From Damascus to the World"  has been achieved and this was embodied in the increasing number of the participating Arab and foreign businessmen and companies from both the public and private sectors despite the US threats and pressure.

"This is the fruit of the victories of the Syrian Arab army over terrorism and the wise Syrian leadership," he said.

"Many traders from the delegation came to see what the most important industries in Syria  are and to find out about the exhibited Syrian products which are among their specializations," he added, clarifying that among the most important Syrian industries needed by the Iraqi market are the pharmaceutical and food industries as well fruits and vegetables.

At the Omani pavilion, Head of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry declined to comment about Oman's official participation in Damascus fair. Yet, Issa al-Maskari, Business Development Manager at the highly prestigious private Omani energy company "Voltamp", talked to Syriatimes about the important participation of the Omani companies in the fair to introduce their expertise that may contribute to the process of reconstruction in Syria.

 "With more than 30 years in the field of power, "Voltamp" manufactures an extensive range of power and distribution transformers, low voltage and medium voltage switchgears and packaged sub-stations using state of the art technology," al-Maskari said, noting that the company's specialization is necessary for the Syrian market in the coming era.

"The meetings we have held with Syrian businessmen, investors and representatives of the ministry of electricity during the days of the fair have proved that work opportunities are abundant in Syria, he added, pointing out that in the next stage "we will hopefully discuss ways to enter the Syrian markets".

He concluded by stressing that the relations between Syria and Oman has always been distinguished and that things will hopefully be better after security prevails countrywide.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) also took part in the fair with a delegation comprising more than 40 businessmen among them were prominent names in the world of business. The delegation was led by the Federation of the UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry.  

Some media outlets said that the United States was upset by the participation of the UAE (a close ally to Washington) in Damascus International Fair saying that it was "unacceptable".

At the UAE pavilion, 15 Emirati companies had stands occupying an area of 500 square meters. They exhibited their goods and promotional materials in the fields of tourism investment, trade, real estate and construction. Main sectors on display were concrete and products for real estate.

The Emirati businessmen aimed at finding out trade exchange possibilities and at achieving rapprochement between the private sector in the UAE and its counterpart in Syria.

Syriatimes asked member of the board of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce about the UAE's participation in the fair, but he refrained from answering us.

 However, representatives of one of the participating private Emirati investment companies said "we need to study the Syrian market then everything happens gradually. It will take time to determine what investment and trade opportunities are suitable".

Hamda Mustafa