Tehran Times, Iran
Iran, Syria ink free trade agreement
18 December 2011
TEHRAN - Iran and Syria have signed a free trade agreement in a bid to boost bilateral trade especially in industry, mining and agriculture, the deputy industry, mine and trade minister stated on Sunday.
The deal was signed after the Iranian parliament passed a bill last Tuesday for free trade with Syria. The bill provided for free trade between Iran and Syria within the next five years.
Speaking to the Mehr News Agency, Hamid Safdel added that the deal would pave the way for the two sides to increase annual trade to $5 billion.
Currently, Safdel said, engineering services is Iran’s main exports to Syria, which amounted to $2.2 billion in the last Iranian calendar year which ended on March 20, 2011.
The two countries’ trade value (excluding technical and engineering services exports) stood at $336 million last year, the IRNA news agency reported.
Iranian firms are currently carrying out different construction projects in Syria such as cement factory, hydroelectric power plants, glass factory, and silos.
Senior Iranian lawmaker Allaedin Boroujerdi said last Tuesday that the free trade pact was "a firm response" to the United States and its allies which are "investing billions of dollars to change the political structure of the Syrian government."