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Turkey-Syria Economic and Trade Relations

Trade and Investments

 

The level of the political relations between Turkey and Syria, geographical proximity of the two countries and familiarity between two people constitute a favourable atmosphere for the economic relations.

 

The legal framework of economic relations was strengthened with the Free Trade Agreement, mutual abolishment of the visas and completion of several bilateral agreements.

 

It is expected that volume of trade between the two countries, in a short time, will reach to 5 billion dollars from 800 million dollars thanks to the Free Trade Agreement. Turkey’s trade volume reached to 1, 8 billion dollars as of 2009. This number surpassed 2, 2 billion dollars in the first 11 months of 2010 and it is envisaged to reach to the target of 5 billion in a short period of time.

Years

Export

Import

Trade Volume

Balance of Trade

2000

184.267

545.240

729.507

-360.973

2001

281.141

463.476

744.617

- 182.335

2002

266.772

506.247

773.019

- 239.475

2003

410.755

413.349

824.104

- 2.594

2004

394.783

357.656

752.439

37.127

2005

551.627

272.180

823.807

279.447

2006

608.140

187.006

795.146

421.134

2007

             797.312

             376.958

          1.174.270

             410.354

2008

1.113.026

639.213

1.752.239

473.813

2009

1.115.013

327.640

1.442.653

787.373

2010

1.641.805

630.610

2.272.415

1.011.195


Electrical machines, mineral fuels, animal and vegetable oil, plastics, automotive and subsidiary industry products, iron and steel products, processed petroleum products, chemical products, cement, glass, ceramics, products of brick and tile industry, leather products, forest products, wheat, flour and margarine are major products exported to Syria.

Mineral fuels, cotton, oilseed and fruits, automotive and subsidiary industry products, paper and carton paper, vegetables, unprocessed animal hide, fertilizer and wool are major products imported from Syria.

Investments of Turkish companies in Syria are nearly 260 million dollars and Turkish companies take the first place in the ranking of foreign investments with respect to project number.

More than 20 Memorandums of Understanding and Protocols were signed in the fields of economy and trade in the meetings realized in the level of Ministers and Prime Ministers within the scope of High Level Strategic Cooperation Council which was formed in 2009 between Turkey and Syria.

According to the data of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the number of the Syrian tourists who visited Turkey in 2007 was 332,847. An increase of 22, 26 % was realized in 2008 with 406,935 tourists. In 2009, the number totaled 509,679 with an increase of 25 %. According to the data of Ministry of Tourism of Syria, on the other hand, the number of the Turkish tourists who visited Syria was 485,953 in 2007 and with an increase of 15 % compared to the previous year, 562,932 in 2008.

While the number of the Syrian tourists in 2009 was 509,679, it reached to 899,494 in 2010. Hence, an increase of 91 % with regard to visitor number was recorded in 2010 compared to the previous year. Syria became the 8th country which sends most tourists to Turkey in 2010.

The number of the Turkish tourists who visited Syria in 2010 was 1,664,209, which constitutes an increase more than 100% compared to the previous year (733,132).

Turkish – Syrian Regional Cooperation Meeting concerning bilateral cooperation in the field of tourism (Turkish-Syria Joint Tourism Commission Meeting) was held on 12-14 January 2011 in Damascus. Ertuğrul Günay, Minister of Culture and Tourism of Turkey, participated in this meeting.

Rate of Increase

YEAR

SYRIAN TOURISTS

2002

126.323

2008

406.935

2009

509.679

2010

899.494

Rate of Increase

YEAR

TURKISH TOURISTS

2002

467.648

2008

562.832

2009

733.132

2010

1.664.209( including daily visits)

2010

864.988(tourists who stayed more than one day)

According to the data of the Ministry of Tourism of Syria, 8,545,849 tourists visited Syria in 2010. Turkish tourists constitute almost 20 % of this number.

While the rate of the Syrian visitors in the total number of people who visited Turkey was 1, 88 % in 2009, this rate increased to 3, 14 % in 2010.

Bilateral Cooperation Mechanisms

Joint Economic Commission (JEC)

Last (6th) meeting of the Joint Economic Commission, which was founded within the framework of the Agreement on Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation (1982), was held on 28-29 July 2003 in Ankara. Minister of State Cevdet Yılmaz is the co-chair of JEC. The meetings of the Partnership Council, formed within the framework of the Free Trade Agreement, substantially replaced the JEC mechanism.

Partnership Council/ Committee

The 3rd meeting of Turkish-Syrian Partnership Council was held in Istanbul on 23-24 July 2009 under the co-chairmanship of Minister of State Zafer Çağlayan and Minister of Economy and Trade of Syria Amer Housni Loutfi. The 4th meeting of Partnership Committee, formed within the framework of the Council, was held in Ankara on 6-7 January 2011.

Industry Follow-up Committee

The 3rd meeting of the Industry Follow-up Committee, formed with respect to the Agreement signed in 2004 by the Ministers of Industry of the two countries, was held in Izmir in 2006. The 4th meeting was held in Damascus on 7-8 April 2010 under the co-chairmanship of Nihat Ergün, Industry and Trade Minister of Turkey.

Business Council

The last meeting of the Turkish-Syrian Business Council was held in Istanbul on 1-3 May 2006. The Turkish-Syrian Labour Forum, as a part of 2nd Ministerial Meeting of the Turkish-Syrian High Level Strategic Cooperation Council which was held on 2-3 October 2010 in Latakia, took place on 2 October 2010 in Tartous with the participation of Zafer Çağlayan.

Joint Commission for Land Transportation

Meeting of Turkish-Syrian Joint Commission for Land Transportation was held in Damascus on 30-31 January 2011.

Legal Framework

Trade Agreement, Protocol on Economic Cooperation, Agreement on the Prevention of Double Taxation, Agreement on Mutual Promotion and Protection of Investment and Free Trade Agreement constitute the legal ground of Turkish-Syrian bilateral economic and commercial relations.