Syria offers industrial facilities to Iranian investors

Syria offers damaged industrial facilities to Iranian investors
3 min read
22 November, 2021
The Damascus Chamber of Industry announced that it will offer damaged factories to Iranian investors ahead of a Syrian-Iranian business expo.
Tehran has sought a return for its investment in the regime in the form of investment contracts in key sectors such as telecoms, construction and logistics.

Syria has announced that it will offer damaged factories to Iranian investors ahead of a Syrian-Iranian business expo to be held in Damascus at the end of the month.

The Damascus Chamber of Industry (DCI) announced that it had invited local businesspeople to register their industrial facilities with the body as potential candidates for Iranian investment.

Much of Syria's industrial base has been damaged due to its decade-long civil war, with the UN estimating the country needs $177 billion to rebuild.

On 29 November the "Made in Iran" business expo will start, with over 160 Iranian companies showcasing their goods and services in Damascus's fairs until 3 December.

Participating companies are mainly in the fields of "medical equipment, construction materials, agricultural tools, oil, gas, and petrochemical equipment", said Hassan Zamani, CEO of the International Iranian Exhibitions Company.

Iran has been the Syrian regime's foremost backer throughout the civil war that started following the 2011 revolution. Over the last decade, Iran has provided the regime with thousands of fighters and military equipment, in addition to advising from the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Iran has given the regime massive amounts of financial aid as part of the so-called "credit line" extended from Tehran. Estimates of the size of this credit line have varied all the way from $1 billion to $30 billion.

Russia has also provided assistance to the regime, through military deployments and political support on the international stage. However, its financial support to the regime is negligible when compared to Iranian aid.

Iran has been a consistent source of oil for Syria throughout the last decade, in part because both countries are under western sanctions. In the first three quarters of 2021 alone, Iran sent over 20 million barrels of oil to Syria.

Tehran has sought a return for its investment in the regime in the form of investment contracts in key sectors such as telecoms, construction, and logistics.

A state-owned firm was in the running to receive Syria’s third telecoms license before the regime gave it to a company owned by an associate to the wife of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, Asma. Iran has also recently signed a $100 million contract to rehabilitate a power station in Aleppo.

In exchange for its support, Damascus has granted Iran some concessions easing its entry into its economic market. In July, Syria announced that imports from the Iranian public sector would be exempt from duties and taxes until 2022.

Though numerous deals have been signed between the two countries for large-scale projects aimed at rehabilitating aspects of Syria’s industrial production, many projects have yet to get off the ground. For example, Iran was meant to rehabilitate a power plant in Homs as part of a $460 million project.

However, due to the poor finances of both Iran and Syria, the project never moved forward.

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