(Persia Digest) - Chairman of the joint Iran-Syria Economic Commission commented on a recent visit to Syria by an Iranian trade delegation headed by First Vice-President Eshagh Jahangiri, and said: “The MoUs and talks which have been respectively signed and held during the visit had two dimensions. One was the political dimension which was taken care of by Mr Jahangiri, Mr Mohammad Eslami, Minister of Roads and Urban Development, and Mr Abdolnaser Hemmati, Governor of the Central Bank of Iran; the other dimension was economic during which Iran’s private sector supervised by the Chamber of Commerce held talks with its Syrian counterparts. The latter led to the signing of a major agreement with several important provisions between the two sides.”
Keyvan Kashefi added: “A major provision was about the transit of goods from Iran to Syria via Iraqi soil. The Iran-Syria inland route is 1,800 km and will reduce costs by up to 50 percent as compared to the previous route which passed through Mersin Port in southern Turkey and reached Latakia Port in western Syria.
The other major provision was about banking ties. It was agreed that financial transactions between the two sides be made through currency exchange offices in the first instance and then through the banking system later.
Kashefi added that the Iran-Syria Chamber of Commerce was also established during the visit. “We have also bought a building in the Safe Zone of Damascus and it will later be changed into a shopping center for Iranian nationals and firms,” he said.
Referring to Syrian needs and the priorities of Iran’s private sector in that country, Kashefi noted: “Given the beginning of reconstruction operations in Syria and the restoration of security to that country, the first priority is with technical and engineering issues and reconstruction, followed by exports of a number of food data-x-items for which memorandums of understanding were signed during the visit and we hope that the level of trade ties will be tripled next year.”
He added: “Presently, Syrian tradesmen are highly interested in cooperating with Iran and purchasing Iranian goods, including cement, steel, tiles and ceramics and certain food items. Additionally, Iran’s Mapna Group has signed several agreements to build a number of power plants in Syria; the ground breaking ceremony was also held for Latakia power plant during the recent visit.”
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