EghtesadOnline: Top representatives of Iran's private sector have met with Syria's ambassador in Tehran to better analyze the role Iranian businesspeople will have in rebuilding Syria.
President of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture Masoud Khansari met with Syrian Ambassador to Iran Adnan Mahmoud, the official website of TCCIM reported on Tuesday. Both sides discussed ways of expanding economic cooperation between the two countries.
The meeting came ahead of a trip by a commercial delegation from Syria to Tehran, which is slated for Oct. 13. The delegation will be headed by the deputy head of the Association of the Chambers of Commerce of Syria and is expected to include a sizable number of Syrian businesspeople.
> New Chapter of Economic Ties
"A new chapter of economic ties between Iran and Syria will begin as Mr. Jahangiri travels to Damascus and several memoranda of understanding will be signed," Mahmoud said in reference to a planned trip by Iran's First Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri, which is expected to culminate in several commercial and economic agreements, according to Financial Tribune.
"Based on the economic agreements devised, companies in Iran's private and state sector have been prioritized in the reconstruction projects of Syria," the ambassador of the Arab Republic said.
Mahmoud pointed out that since Syria is a member of the Arab League, it could become a hub for Iran's economic dealings with Arab nations since Iran could export its goods to the countries of the league without tariffs and customs duties after establishing factories in Syria.
The TCCIM chief said he is happy that a modicum of safety has returned to Syria.
"As the hub of credible and recognized businesses of Iran's private sector, TCCIM has seriously monitored Syria and its capacities for bilateral economic cooperation and conducted plans to develop ties between the private sectors of the two countries," Khansari said.
He also referred to the upcoming Syrian delegation, saying "plans are underway to establish an Iran-Syria chamber of commerce".
The official said that in light of the need for the quick reconstruction of Syria, Iran's private sector is completely ready to have active participation in the process and help rebuild Syria's infrastructures.
Khansari was accompanied by his top advisor Mohammad Mehdi Rasekh who also called for identifying and mobilizing opportunities in bilateral economic fields.
> Syrian PM Invites Iranian Investment
In a meeting between Secretary of Iran’s Headquarters for Expanding Economic Ties with Iraq and Syria Hassan Danaeifar in Damascus last month, Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis invited Iranian companies to invest in his country.
“Iran is very competent in many economic fields, including industry and urban development,” Khamis was quoted as saying by IRNA.
Danaeifar also met with Syrian businesspeople and traders on Monday and emphasized the need to expand economic and commercial interactions on top of the congenial political and cultural ties between the two countries.
An Iranian economic delegation headed by Deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Development Amir Amini visited the Syrian capital Damascus last month.
The two sides touched upon the issues of reconstruction of Syria's infrastructures battered by years of war on terrorists as well as cooperation in the fields of customs, banking, industry, information technology, creation of SMEs and energy.
Upon the delegation’s arrival, Assistant Economy Minister for Economic Development and International Relations Rania al-Ahmad said investors and industrialists from Iran intend to play an important role in the reconstruction of Syria, expressing hope that negotiations would lead to Iran’s effective presence in Syria’s redevelopment plans.
The three-day visit came after Syrian Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade Mohammad Samer Al-Khalil discussed with a host of top Iranian officials prospects of bilateral economic cooperation in Tehran back in June.
“Iran will be a main partner in the reconstruction process,” Al-Khalil said in the Iranian capital.
“The current stage is decisive for Syria and Iran, and we are on the threshold of the phase of rebuilding Syria and take advantage of the expertise of Iranian companies in this domain.”
Iran's economic forays into Syria include large-scale agreements between the two sides during official visits, as well as specific measures, such as using national currencies in Tehran-Damascus transactions; engaging in joint ventures; and encouraging Baghdad's involvement as an equal partner, which could be achieved by integrating the three countries' railroads.
Iranian Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri and Syrian Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade Samer Al-Khalil discussed the rail project during a meeting in June.
In August, another Iranian delegation visited Syria to discuss the construction of 30,000 residential units in Syria by private Iranian companies. Later that month, Amir Hatami, Iran’s minister of defense, met his counterpart to negotiate the supply of military equipment to Syria and the reestablishment of industries.