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Cabinet Discusses Economic Strategies, Reduces Customs Fees of Several Materials

14 September 2011 19:55

During a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Adel Safar, the Cabinet discussed on Tuesday the work plan of the Ministry of Economy and Trade and its future strategy and directives.

The Economy Ministry’s directives focus on restructuring economic units, developing and reforming the public sector and improving cooperation between it and the private sector in order to make Syrian economy more competitive and productive, link economic and commercial policies into sustainable economic development strategies, supporting enterprises and investment, developing exports, supporting internal trade, pursuing antitrust, protecting consumers and supporting innovation and protection of property.

The Cabinet approved the Ministry’s work plan and referred its reform suggestions to the Economic Reform Committee for further study and elaboration.

In order to support the industrial sector, the Cabinet passed a bill on amending customs fees on a number of materials used in industries, including iron, steel, jute fiber, gas stoves, air conditioners and more.

The Cabinet also passed a number of bills including one exempting cinemas that upgrade their facilities and ones established after issuing the bill from customs fees for its equipment and local administration fees for five years.

In a statement to the press after the meeting, Minister of Economy and Trade Mohammad Nidal al-Shaar said that his ministry’s directives for the next stage involve a new vision for reforming economic public establishments and economic policies.

Al-Shaar said that reforming economic establishments will be based on economic feasibility, adding that the ministry finished drafting a bill on a law for protecting consumers in addition to a bill on establishing a fund for developing small and medium projects.

He added that Syria has a surplus of basic alimentary materials, feed and fertilizers strategic supplies, stressing that the Foreign Trade Establishment is working hard to provide the market’s needs.

The Minister also said that the Syrian Investment Agency is working to amend the investment decree in order to facilitate local and foreign investments.

In turn, Minister of Finance Mohammad al-Jleilati said that the Cabinet’s decision to reconsider customs fees for a number of materials guarantees providing local needs and supporting local industries through cutting costs, effectively lowering the retail prices of these products and increasing exports.

Al-Jleilati said that priority will be given to exports and supporting consumers, and that the ministry is working to reveal actual costs of products to avoid inflation that affects people with low income.

He concluded by stating that the general state budget will be issued according to schedule, and that his ministry has finished with the draft budget which will be presented to the Higher Council for Planning by the end of September.

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