Syria has managed to clear the textile stocks piling up at state companies, Industry Minister Ahmed Hamu said in an interview published by the government newspaper Tishrin .
This indication comes as the European Union has recorded a drastic increase in cotton yarn imports over the past two years from Syria and decided to put them under monitoring.
"In the textile company, the stocks have gone down last year by (the equivalent of) 1.2 billion Syrian pounds, all its production has been sold," Hamu said.
This amount equals to $24 million at market rate and $106 million at the customs exchange rate for last year.
Hamu did not elaborate on the nature of the stocks and the markets on which they were sold, but the information bureau at his ministry said the stocks included cotton yarn.
Syrian exports of cotton yarn to the EU have seen a surge over the last two years, prompting the commission to put them under monitoring to make sure there was no dumping.
According to the European delegation in Damascus, the EU's imports of cotton yarn increased to 30,417 tons and €81 million in 2000, from 988 tons and €2.8 million in 1996.
The EU's two-fold monitoring system puts no restrictions on cotton yarn imports from Syria. On the one hand, it opens an enquiry in order to establish the facts about the past years' imports, and on the other, it sets up a surveillance system by which all cotton yarn imports from Syria must obtain a license, to be granted automatically within five working days.
Syria ranks tenth in the world for cotton production, with an annual output of some one million tons, but it has been experiencing problems in marketing its textiles with stocks piling up over the past years.
Iraq last March agreed to absorb the Syrian textile stocks. — (AFP, Damascus)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)