Syria, Iraq Sign Free Trade Zone Agreement

Published January 31st, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

Syrian Prime Minister Mohammed Mustapha Miro and Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan signed an agreement in Damascus Wednesday to set up a free trade zone between the two countries, said AFP. 

In a speech at the signing ceremony, Miro called for the "setting up of joint enterprises and the strengthening of cooperation between investors and businessmen" from the two countries. 

He argued for "Arab economic complementarily through the establishment of a common market, and the free movement of capital between Arab countries so as to face the challenges of globalization and from the giant economic blocs." 

Through this agreement, "goods can move between the two countries without any customs duties or import licenses, so long as they are of Iraqi or Syrian origin," Iraqi trade minister, Mohammed Mehdi Saleh, said Tuesday during a meeting with Syrian economics minister, Mohamed Imadi, according to the agency. 

Meanwhile, Jordan's Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb said that Jordan will hold talks with Iraq next week to establish a free trade zone between the two countries, reported the Jordan Times newspaper. 

Abu Ragheb said a large delegation headed by minister of trade and industry, Wasif Azar, is expected to conclude the agreement during their several-day visit to Iraq due to start on Saturday, added the paper.  

The premier said the 150-member delegation, which will include businessmen and merchants, will also push for the activation of the 450-million-dollar-trade protocol with Iraq.  

A free trade agreement between Iraq and Arab countries stipulates the lifting of all customs barriers and an easing of the flow of goods to sanctions-hit Iraq, under a 10-year-old embargo following its 1990 occupation of Kuwait.  

Last week, Jordanian private sector representatives demanded that the government sign an agreement with Iraq, the paper added --  




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