Iran, Syria Sign FTA To Raise Bilateral Trade To $5 Bln.

Iran and Syria have signed a free trade agreement (FTA) to boost bilateral trade especially in industry, mining and agriculture, the English-language daily Tehran Times reported on Monday.

The contract was signed after the Iranian Parliament passed a bill last week providing for the five-year FTA with Syria which is reeling under sanctions imposed by the West.

Talking to the Mehr News Agency, Iran’s Deputy Trade Minister Hamid Safdel said the deal would pave the way for the two sides to increase annual trade to $5 billion.

Engineering services is Iran’s main exports to Syria that amounted to $2.2 billion during the last Iranian calendar year ending March 20, 2011. Bilateral trade between the two countries, excluding exports of technical and engineering services, stood at $336 million last year, he added.

Iranian firms are currently carrying out different projects in Syria such as constructing cement factory, hydro-electric power plants, glass factory and silos.

As long-time allies in the region, Iran has provided Syria with economic assistance in the past years to counter international isolation and economic sanctions on the Middle East nation. The two countries have recently signed a series of agreements on economic cooperation to help Syria withstand new pressures.

Syria last week had decided to reduce customs duties on Syrian goods to Iran by 60 percent in an attempt to scale down the effect of economic sanctions by the United States and other Western countries.

Senior Iranian lawmaker Allaedin Boroujerdi said on Tuesday last 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.”

Source: RTT News

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