Syria and Saudi Arabia plan to slash customs rates imposed on bilateral exchanges over the year 2001 by 50 percent, reported the London-based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat. Saudi Minister of Commerce Usama Faqih maintained that rates would drop by an additional 25 percent next year.
It is expected that by the beginning of 2003 all customs fees on bilateral trade between the two countries will have been removed. Faqih, accompanied by a large Saudi delegation, recently visited Syria to partake in the Damascus international Fair.
Trade between the two countries has tripled between 1994 and 1999, while moves for further cooperation are underway. The two sides recently signed an agreement facilitating overland transport of passengers and goods and the establishment of cultural and information programs.
Saudi-Syrian trade currently amounts to $270 million annually. Syrian exports to Saudi Arabia, mainly fruits and vegetables, are valued at $190 million yearly. Saudi Arabian exports to Syria mainly consist of oil-derived goods, such as industrial lubricants, and amount to $80 million per annum. — (Mena Report)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )