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Economic Council for Establishing Free Trade Zone between Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan

Syrian Arab New Agency (SANA), Syria

Economic Council for Establishing Free Trade Zone between Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan

Regional and International Economy

2 August 2010

By R. Raslan /H. Said

Istanbul, (SANA) - Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan announced the establishment of an economic council to follow up on creating a free trade zone among these countries.

The announcement came at the first round of the quadripartite meeting of Ministers of Trade and Economy of the four countries held in Istanbul on Saturday.

The free trade zone will contribute to promoting competitiveness, supporting scientific research and building a strategic partnership to boost trade exchange and support small and medium-sized institutions to overcome obstacles facing trade.

"Establishing a free trade zone among Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey aims at creating a regional economic bloc to help these countries face the repercussions of the global economic crisis and strengthen their economies," Minister of Economy and Trade Lamia Assi said at the meeting.

She added that the project will help create a sustainable environment to guarantee increasing trade exchange and investment flow among the four countries, which would positively reflect on the political dialogue and economic growth in the region where each country will benefit from the potentials available in the other countries.

"The international developments require more efforts and initiatives to develop capabilities and achieve sustainable economic development to integrate into world economy through interactive economic partnerships with international economic groups," Assi added.

For his part, Jordanian Minister of Industry and Trade Amer Al-Hadidi, said the current economic situation necessitates joint cooperation in trade, investment and knowledge exchange, in addition to coordination in regional and international trade negotiation.

Lebanese Minister of Economy and Trade Mohammad al-Safadi said the joint announcement is based on an important vision to make these countries a regional force.

Turkish State Minister for Foreign Trade Zafer Caglayan highlighted the importance of this project in turning these countries into alternative markets for capitals.