“The free trade agreement with Syria was signed in [the Iranian calendar year] 1389 (started in March 2010), but was inactive for some reason, and its implementation is expected to resume soon,” the TPO portal quoted Piltan as saying on Tuesday.
The two countries signed the free trade agreement in a bid to boost bilateral trade, especially in industry, mining, and agriculture.
According to Piltan, except for 88 items, the exchange of all commodities between the two countries was subject to the free trade agreement, based on which, the two countries’ businessmen were allowed to exchange goods only by paying a four-percent tariff.
"Despite the signing of this agreement, due to the policies of the governments of Iran and Syria in the field of export and import and the ban and restrictions imposed on various items, traders were not able to use this agreement practically," he added.
The implementation of this agreement with Syria, which the Industry, Mining, and Trade Minister Reza Fatemi Amin is scheduled to pursue during a recent visit to Syria, means that the two countries' traders will be exempt from current export and import restrictions and bans in their exchanges, Piltan explained.
The official further mentioned some of the problems that the two countries’ traders are currently facing, saying: “There are other problems in the way of boosting trade with Syria; Transportation of goods by sea is time-consuming, and this has led to additional cost of exporting goods to the Syrian market; Transportation by land is also not possible, because the goods must be transported through Iraq to Syria, which requires a tripartite agreement, which, of course, being pursued by the government, but it will take time until it is finalized.”
Another problem is related to banking transactions, he noted, adding: “At present, it is not possible to exchange money between traders of the two countries through the banking system. Using other strategies and mechanisms to exchange money imposes costs on traders in the two countries for which we are looking to find a solution.”
Regarding the Industry, Minister’s visit to Syria, Piltan said: "the minister’s future visit to Syria can help facilitate trade between the two countries; Commercial and industrial committee meetings will also be held at the same time.”