TEHRAN - An official at the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran (TPO) said that implementation of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Iran and Syria would beef up the mutual trade to a great extent.

The FTA between Tehran and Damascus was signed 13 years ago but it has not yet been implemented, Mahdi Zeyghami said, calling for efforts to accelerate the implementation of the agreement and spur the bilateral trade and economic activities.

Stating that Iran currently hold about a 10 percent share of Syria’s market, the deputy minister of industry said, “It is predicted that Iran will export $500 million worth of products to this Arab country in the current Iranian calendar year (that started on March 20).”

Earlier, Director General of the West Asia Office of TPO Abdolamir Rabihavi said a forum will be held to introduce the opportunities in the Syrian market and pave the way for exporting technical and engineering services to Syria and rebuilding the Arab country.

Syria is one of Iran’s export target markets and has been put at the focal attention of Iranian traders, he stressed.

Rabihavi invited Syrian economic activists and officials to take part in the Iran Expo 2024 and noted that Business-to-Business (B2B) meetings with Syrian entrepreneurs are expected to be held at the expo in line with promoting bilateral trade.

The 6th International Export Potential Exhibition of the Islamic Republic of Iran, dubbed “Iran Expo 2024”, will be inaugurated on April 27 and run until May 1.

Iran’s TPO held a conference on Syria’s trade opportunities for Iranian business operators in early March.

The conference dubbed “Reconstruction of Syria” was attended by officials from the two countries and representatives of companies from both sides.

Speaking at the event, Rabihavi said the economic cooperation between Iran and Syria has entered a new stage, adding that Iranian business operators have a potential $5.0 billion market waiting for them.

“Syria is looking forward to the expansion of economic ties with Iran,” Rabihavi said.

According to the official, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has agreed to establish a joint bank with Syria.

“Initial discussions on the establishment of a joint bank between Iran and Syria have been carried out. This bank will act far from international sanctions against Iran and Syria. We hope that the bank will reopen next year,” he said.

He further noted that the FTA between the two countries is expected to be implemented in the next Iranian calendar year (begins on March 20).

According to Rabihavi, the two countries have set the goal to increase their mutual trade exchanges to $500 million, next year.

As the body in charge of the country's foreign trade sector, TPO has presented plans for the economic development of the two countries to the secretariat of the joint commission of the two countries, the ambassadors, and the foreign ministry, the official said.

“Our most important program is to attend international exhibitions in Syria and it is an opportunity for people traders who want to enter the Syrian market to establish themselves,” he noted.

Rabihavi had earlier said that Syria is one of the export target countries of the Islamic Republic, and after the end of the military crisis and the establishment of peace in the region, Iranian traders and businessmen are getting more interested in the Syrian market.

The official said the organization has been taking effective measures to increase the share of Iranian companies in the Syrian market.

He pointed to the FTA between Tehran and Damascus and added that the customs tariffs agreed with Syria have been minimized to the zero level.

The two countries have high potential and capacities to boost their trade, Rabihavi added.

As stated by the former TPO head, Iran has allocated a special budget of $50 million to support the Iranian export companies active in the Syrian market.

“Iran and Syria have good political relations and we must use this opportunity and encourage the private sector and our businessmen to enter the Syrian market and the government must do its best in this regard,” Alireza Peyman Pak said.

Iran and Syria signed four documents to boost cooperation in the fields of trade and industry during a visit of an Iranian delegation headed by the country’s industry minister to Damascus in 2022.

The documents were inked at the end of the two countries’ joint economic and industrial committee meetings which were held in the Syrian capital.