Syrian exports soar to 10.8 billion dollars for 2006: PM

DAMASCUS - Syrian exports reached 10.8 billion dollars in 2006, soaring from 2.5 billion the year before, according to Prime Minister Naji Otri quoted on Friday by the official daily paper Al Thawra.

By (AFP)

Published: Fri 13 Apr 2007, 6:51 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 9:06 PM

Hailing the “spectacular growth”, Otri said it was achieved by the “decrees recently adopted which are beginning to bear fruit.”

“Syrian exports went from 2.5 billion US dollars in 2005 to 10.8 billion in 2006,” he said.

Analysts put the growth down to the development of trade with Iraq and Turkey, which recently signed a free trade agreement with Damascus.

Syria has introduced various economic reforms and is moving from a planned centralised economy to a market economy.

The World Bank has estimated that the oil sector accounts for half of the state’s revenues and in 2005 oil represented 70 percent of the country’s exports.

Syria’s economy grew by 5.1 percent in 2006, and Damascus expects growth of 5.6 percent in 2007. It hopes to achieve 7.0 percent at the end of the state’s five year plan in 2010, according to deputy prime minister in charge of economic affairs, Abdallah Dardari.

Friday’s figures put unemployment at around 9.5 percent last year, although experts put the jobless rate around 20 percent.

Syria’s total external debt fell in 2006 to less than five billion dollars, compared with 24 billion in 2005.

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