Foreign Investment Falters in Syria
Foreign investment in Syria totaled only 47.6 million dollars last year, Al-Baath's economic weekly edition reported Tuesday, quoting an official report.
The projects approved by the state investment bureau represented only 17 percent of the total value during the year, and only 0.77 percent of the 6.2 billion dollars of foreign investment in all Arab countries.
State Planning Minister Issam Zaim said last week he was pessimistic about foreign investment in Syria where industry is not competitive.
France headed the list of foreign investors last year with 36.4 percent of the total value, followed by Germany, Britain, the Netherlands and Japan. The projects cover processing industries (32.8 percent), agriculture (27.6 percent), transport (22.7 percent) and construction (16.9 percent).
Syria's economy is open to foreign investment, but obsolete laws and heavy-handed administration discourage investors.
However, talk of reform has been in the air. The parliament is currently considering bills to create a stock exchange and private banks in Syria.
And in July, four Saudi companies set up a holding company with 100 million dollars in capital to finance development projects in industry, real estate, tourism, agriculture and communications - DAMASCUS (AFP)
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