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flag Syria Syria: Selling and Buying

In this page: Market Access Procedures | Reaching the Consumers | Distributing a Product | Organizing Goods Transport | Identifying a Supplier


Market Access Procedures

International Conventions
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Main International Economic Cooperation
The country is part of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA), a pact of the Arab League entered into force in January 2005 which aims to form an Arabic free trade area. Syria also signed a bilateral free trade agreement with Turkey and started negotiations for an Association Agreement with the EU in October 2004, but final signatures are still pending.
Non Tariff Barriers
Imports are subject to a licensing system and some products are prohibited to import.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
The Syrian government is working to harmonize its import tariffs and custom duties, trying to adapt them to the WTO standards. The countries that do not have a trade agreement with Syria are subject to a system of progressive tax rates. These customs duties vary between 1 and 200%. The average is 25%. Raw materials are taxed at 5-10%, equipment for industry 10-20%, foodstuffs 1-15%, and machines 30-60%. Tourism vehicles weighting under one ton are taxed 150%. A surtax is levied on products meant to be sold to military barracks, schools and local councils. This surtax is between 6 and 35%.  Customs duties, which were practically prohibitive until now, are being reviewed and lowered in the context of an agreement of association between Syria and the European Union and Syria's eventual membership to the WTO. In this context, customs formalities have been simplified and the list of prohibited import products has been reduced. 

Since 2006, the customs laws have been relaxed thanks to the establishment of an automated system. The customs declarations are computerized and the database is updated on a daily basis.  Unfortunately, the crisis context had a disastrous effect in the modernization of the system: In February 2009, the government officially proceeded to raise customs duties for cottons and established a minimum price for imported clothing, also eliminated certain taxes for exporters in order to protect the Syrian textile market.

Customs Classification
The Convention on the Harmonized System came into force in the Syrian Arab Republic on January 1st 2009.
Import Procedures
All goods imported from abroad are subject to the payment of duties and taxes. Customs duties vary depending on the need of the product, which is estimated by the Syrian Government. The new system is based on the customs value determination which is the compromise value. Simplified, it allows a faster treatment of dispatched goods and a certain transparency regarding the assessment and the right to recourse to the decisions taken by the customs institutions. Applications for licenses are carried out at the Syrian Federation of Chambers of Commerce, through the services of the Embassies in the country of origin. For further information, consult the website for Customs legislation (in arabic).
Importing Samples
The Syrian Customs authorities allow commercial samples to enter the country. These samples must be re-exported within six months.
For Further Information
Syrian Investment Agency
Federation of Syrian Chambers of Commerce

Learn more about Traders, Agents in Syria on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Reaching the Consumers

Marketing Opportunities

Consumer Behavior
Due to a low purchasing power among the majority of consumers, the price factor is essential when choosing a product. However, the crossing towards a market economy is highly changing the life style and the consuming habits of the Syrian population. New products are beginning to emerge in the Syrian market: luxury cars, computers and satellite televisions... The liberalization of the economy has generated a real revolution in the fields of clothing and new technologies of information and communication.
Consumer Profile and Purchasing Power
The liberalization of the Syrian economy is accentuating the inequalities in the country. A new class of consumers is surfacing. At the same time, the lowest social class is becoming more impoverished.
Main Advertising Agencies
UG (United Group) is Syria's most  renown agency.
Kawalys is specialized in advertising displays
Araboo: main advertising-marketing agencies
Arab Advertising Organization

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Distributing a Product

Market Shares
Companies that have their own distribution network are rare. Most products are sold in bazaars, groceries and specialized shops. But shopping centers and multi-brand stores are starting to appear in Damascus which could make good distribution relays, especially for top of the range products.

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Organizing Goods Transport

Main Useful Means of Transport
The means of transportation mostly used for the transportation of goods is the train (2,750 km. of railway). However, the network is getting old and is relatively slow.
Port of Baniyas
Information on Syrian ports including the port of Jablah
Port of Latakia
Port of Baniyas
Aleppo International Airport
Bassel Al Assad International Airport Latakia
Damascus International Airport
Deir-Ez-Zor Airport
Kamishly Airport
Sea Transport Organizations
Syrian Ministry of Transport
Air Transport Organizations
Syrian Ministry of Transport
Road Transport Organizations
Syrian Ministry of Transport
Rail Transport Organizations
General Establishment of Syrian Railways

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Identifying a Supplier

Type of Production
Industry represents more than 20% of the active population and 10% of GDP. Industry is mostly controlled by the State (60% of GDP and 80% of heavy investments). The main industrial sectors are:
- Textiles: the manufacturing industry is concentrated in textiles (manufacturing 30% of GDP, exports 15%);
- Agri-food;
- Construction and Building and Public Works;
- Oil refining;
- Metallurgy;
- The handicrafts sector is also important, especially leather crafts and the fabrication of carpets.

Business Directories

Multi-sector Directories
Dalylak - Syria's business directory.
Echo Syria - Business database for Syria.
Eyoon - Business directory for several countries in Africa and in the Middle East.
Syriaexpo - Find businesses in Syria.
Yellow Pages Syria - Find a business in Syria.
Trade Agencies and Their Representations Abroad
Damascus Chamber of Industry
Federation of Chambers of Commerce in Syria
Syria Enterprise and Business Center
Chamber of Commerce of Damascus
Enterprises Federation
Syrian Business Council (on Linkedin, the website is under maintenance)

Learn more about Service Providers in Syria on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Last Updates: January 2015