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Syria Eyes Mercosur Trade Deal

by Lorys Charalambous,, Brussels

05 October 2010

Syrian Assistant Minister of Trade and Economy, Khaled Sallouta has reported back after meeting with the head of the Brazillian International Negotiations Department at the country’s Foreign Ministry, Evandro de Sampaio Didonet, in which the diplomats initialled an agreement to begin negotiations towards a Free Trade Agreement between Syria and the Mercosur bloc, which Brazil is currently chairing.

At the meeting, Sallouta and Didonet initialed a framework agreement, which will lay the foundations for the negotiation of terms for the removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers between Syria and the quadripartite bloc, comprising of Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil. The initialed agreement is to be signed formally in December, when Syria’s economy minister is scheduled to make an official visit.

The proposed signing of a Free Trade Agreement with the bloc is as part of government attempts to attract Foreign Direct Investment to the territory. Speaking recently, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Abdallah Dardari told reporters that he was seeking to encourage as much as USD55bn in foreign investment over the next five years, with just under half to go towards infrastructure projects.

Syria already has a similar trade agreement with Turkey, and is in the process of negotiating final terms with Iran, with an interim agreement currently in place.

TAGS: investment | free trade agreement (FTA) | Paraguay | Syria | Uruguay | export duty | trade treaty | investment treaty | agreements | Brazil | import duty | trade | Argentina | Turkey | free trade zone

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