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Home arrow About Syria arrow Economy

Syrian Economy:

Syria is a multi recourse developing Economy based on several economic sectors, particularly agriculture, food, textiles and garment industries, tourism, finance and oil and gas sector. The private sector is envisaged to be the main growth leader working hand in hand with public sector to achieve prosperous and sound economic development.



During recent years, agriculture’s contribution to GDP has hovered around 30%. Syria consists of four natural provinces: the coastal plain along the Mediterranean Sea, the mountainous region, the interior region and the Syrian agricultural plains and steppe located in the eastern and south eastern part of the country. Of Syria total area, 32% is classified as cultivable land.

Syria’s main agricultural production includes both food and industrial crops. Major field crops include wheat and barley, and a wide range of fruit and vegetables. Tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, cucumber and onions, olives, grapes, apples, oranges and pomegranates are the leading fruit and vegetable crops. Syria’s strategic crops include cotton, wheat and sugar, along with cumin and other spices, peanuts, sunflowers, tobacco and Soya beans. The Syrian Government has targeted the olive oil sub-sector for expansion. Over the last 15 years, Syrian olive oil production increased from 66000 tons in 1987-1988 to 194, 000 tons in 2002.

The volume of agricultural foreign trade increased from USD 1.6 billion in 2000 to USD 2.3 billion in 2002. Agricultural exports increased from USD 0.9 billion to USD 1.2 billion.

Oil and Gas

Oil and gas sector plays a vital role in Syria’s economy. Crude oil and petroleum products account for fifth of the Gross Domestic product, which is more than half of the total foreign exchange revenues and half of the revenues of the government Budget.
Syria’s production of oil was 500, 000 barrels per day (bpd),and currently it is around 350,000 barrels per day .Syrian government is attracting more foreign companies to explore new promising areas for oil and gas production, and it is also working to establish new refineries with foreign partners including Malaysia  to enhance the industry.  A recent agreement to establish a new refinery was signed with the MMC.

Current gas production is around 22 million m3 per day and expected to be around 32MM3 in the near future.

Syria cooperates with Arab countries to enhance its potentials to be one of the major distribution centers of Oil and Gas between Europe and Middle East, The Arab Gas Pipe is a major step towards achieving this goal. 

Syria is also rich in other mineral resources such as phosphates, quartz sand, salt, gypsum and marble.

Industrial Development

Syria’s industrial sector represented approximately 27% of national GDP in 2002. Manufacturing in Syria accounts for 7.5% of GDP and employs 15% of the labor force. Industrial output is divided among four general sectors, including textiles (25%), food processing (22%), chemicals (including pharmaceuticals – 31%) and miscellaneous assembly lines (including appliances – 21%).Syria boasts a diverse industrial base. Its foremost industries include oil refining, phosphate extraction, chemicals, foodstuffs, textiles and salt extraction. Also of importance are cast iron and steel, cement, sugar and fertilizer industries.

Textiles, including garments and spinning, represent one of Syria’s most competitive industries and has a considerable potential for export based on the country’s plentiful and high quality cotton crop.
Syria’s pharmaceutical sector represents another success story. This sector has expanded significantly, helping the country achieve approximately 90% self-sufficiency in drugs and pharmaceuticals. The assembly industry is equally well developed.

Syria is the world’s sixth largest olive oil producer, with the domestic market consuming only 50% of annual production.

Cooperation opportunities
Opportunities for industrial cooperation with Syria involve sectors that use domestic raw materials such as cotton, wool, oil, edible seeds, and mineral resources. This includes industries supplying the agricultural sector with machinery and high technology inputs.
More specifically, investment opportunities exist in the following fields:

  • Food industries;
  • Packaging;
  • Agro-industrial projects (enhance production of juice, olive oil and dairy products);
  • Textile projects (mixed yarns production, wool production, various kind of cotton fabrics and polyester, production of spare parts for spinning and textile machines);
  • Consumer products;
  • Chemical and pharmaceutical industry;
  • Petrochemicals projects;
  • Leather industry;
  • Electronics and IT.           


A diverse country with a modern state, Syria is home to remains of 33 civilizations.
Be it Syria's rich archaeological sites, its diverse natural landscape of sea coast, mountains, forests, deserts, rivers , caverns , lakes ,or its ancient towns with their old bazaars , inns , old houses , handcrafts and traditional manufactures and arts ,the country's tourism potential is enormous .

Cooperation opportunities

  • Construction of hotels, tourism complexes and spas along the coast of Syria, as well as in the Al-Assad lake area.
  • Rehabilitation historical palaces into hotels.
  • Investing in and improving Syrian coastal assets.
  • Hotels chains of all categories.
  • Rehabilitation of historical palaces into hotels.
  • Investing in and improving Syrian beaches.
  • Commercial services and entertainment centers, tourism infrastructure and facilities.
  • Developing ancient historical and desert sites, maintenance and restoration of ruins, historical palace, citadels and amphitheatres.
  • Projects in beautiful natural grottos and hot sulfuric springs.
  • Efforts to boost service and utilities
  • Establishment if motels and tourist rest house, establishing tourist theme parks, tourist villages and shopping malls.
  • Enhanced promotion strategies and increased environmental awareness.

Foreign Trade

Since 2000, overall Syrian trade has steadily increased in volume, reaching SYP 552 billion SYP (~ USD 11 billion) in 2002. Syria's major imports include machinery and transport equipment, crude materials, chemicals and related products. Although the Syrian exports ranged between SYP 140 – 185 billion in the period 1991 -1997 ,reaching and all time high of SYP 316 billion ( ~ USD 6 billion ) in 2002 . Around 64% of Syrian exports are from the extraction sector (mainly crude oil), following by agriculture and textiles and garments. In 2006 the total Syrian exports amounted to USD 10.8 Billion and the non oil products were the main exports due to the government success to encourage agriculture and industrial exports.

Syria's major steps taken at the international level include:

  • Official application to the World Trade Organization (WTO) filed in 2001.
  • Joined the Great Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA) in 1997, which removed all trade barriers and duties between the signatories by 2005.
  • Activated Free Trade Areas with Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates.
  • Bilateral trade, economic and investment protection agreements were concluded with other Arab and foreign countries.
  • Completed technical negotiations at the end of 2003 with European Union towards the conclusion Association Agreement, within the framework of establishing of a larger Euro – Med Free Trade Area (FTA).
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