: The country is part of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area
(GAFTA), a pact of the Arab League entered into force in January 2005 which aims to form an Arabic free trade area. Syria also signed a bilateral free trade agreement with Turkey and started negotiations for an Association Agreement with the EU in October 2004, but final signatures are still pending.
Non tariff barriers: Imports are subject to a licensing system and some products are prohibited to import.
Average Customs Duty (excluding agricultural products)
: The Syrian government is working to harmonize its import tariffs and custom duties, trying to adapt them to the WTO standards. The countries that do not have a trade agreement with Syria are subject to a system of progressive tax rates. These customs duties vary between 1 and 200%. The average is 25%. Raw materials are taxed at 5-10%, equipment for industry 10-20%, foodstuffs 1-15%, and machines 30-60%. Tourism vehicles weighting under one ton are taxed 150%. A surtax is levied on products meant to be sold to military barracks, schools and local councils. This surtax is between 6 and 35%. Customs duties, which were practically prohibitive until now, are being reviewed and lowered in the context of an agreement of association between Syria and the European Union and Syria's eventual membership to the WTO. In this context, customs formalities have been simplified and the list of prohibited import products has been reduced.
Since 2006, the customs laws have been relaxed thanks to the establishment of an automated system. The customs declarations are computerized and the database is updated on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the crisis context had a disastrous effect in the modernization of the system: In February 2009, the government officially proceeded to raise customs duties for cottons and established a minimum price for imported clothing, also eliminated certain taxes for exporters in order to protect the Syrian textile market.
Customs classification: The Convention on the Harmonized System came into force in the Syrian Arab Republic on January 1st 2009.
: All goods imported from abroad are subject to the payment of duties and taxes. Customs duties vary depending on the need of the product, which is estimated by the Syrian Government. The new system is based on the customs value determination which is the compromise value. Simplified, it allows a faster treatment of dispatched goods and a certain transparency regarding the assessment and the right to recourse to the decisions taken by the customs institutions. Applications for licenses are carried out at the Syrian Federation of Chambers of Commerce, through the services of the Embassies in the country of origin. For further information, consult the website for Customs legislation (in arabic)