A leading manufacturer of clothing in Syria is set to close several retail outlets because of shrinking textile production and low consumer demand, in an ominous sign for a sector that was once an important pillar of the country’s economy.
The Syrian Investment Agency (SIA), a state-owned body that licenses and promotes large-scale investment projects in the country, has published a report showing a modest increase in investments in 2019.
The Syrian government is planning to award major projects in the tobacco and steel sectors to private companies in a bid to win badly needed investment amid a lack of government funds.
The number of new manufacturers starting operations in Syria increased slightly last year, according to official data, but the growth rate was much lower than in 2019 due largely to the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic as well as ongoing fuel and electricity shortages and the deterioration of the Syrian pound.
Syria’s three major industrial cities saw a jump in the value of newly licensed projects last year, although the number of jobs created and the number of projects beginning construction slowed down, according to official data.
The sharp rise in the cost of raw materials is leading to a shortage of paper products, including schoolbooks, despite a recent increase in local production capacity.
A contract signed between a Syrian state company and an Iranian supplier confirms that Tehran’s credit lines to Damascus are technically still operational.
Since the end of last year, Syria’s eight car assembly plants have stopped producing because the government has stopped issuing the import licences required for their activities.
A legislative decree has lifted tariff barriers on a range of industrial inputs in a bid to encourage local production.
The government has agreed to subsidise loans granted to Aleppo industrialists in a bid to kickstart investment in Syria’s traditional manufacturing hub.
Official data is painting a mixed picture for investment in Syria’s manufacturing sector.
The Suweida governorate has awarded a SYP 20 billion contract for a solid waste treatment plant on terms that are similar to public private partnership deals.
A company from China is negotiating to set up a plant in Syria, which would be one of the very few Chinese investments to take place in the country.
The Syrian Investment Agency has issued a licence for a new car assembly plant, while an Iranian-owned venture in the industry has reportedly suspended production.
The government has increased tariffs on some steel products, a decision that seems to have been motivated by pressures from influential businessmen.


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