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Foreign Trade in Figures

Syria was open to international trade before the outbreak of the civil war in 2011. It had signed a free trade agreement with Turkey as well as an association agreement with the European Union and joined the GAFTA (large Arab free trade area). Nowadays, foreign trade represents 48% of the country's GDP (World Bank, latest data available), comprising mostly imports. Historically, Syria's main exports were petroleum resources, its by-products and food products. The country mainly imported petroleum products, foodstuffs (sugar, corn, rice), vehicles and metal products. In 2021, Syria exported primarily agricultural goods, such as olive oil, seeds, and nuts. The top five destinations for Syrian exports were Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, and United Arab Emirates (UN Comtrade database).
Trade was paralyzed by the serious political, social and economic crisis that affected the country and turned into a civil war, and by the economic sanctions imposed by its trading partners. The outbreak of COVID-19 and the implementation by the United States of the Caesar Law to isolate the Syrian economy have exacerbated the country’s difficulties. The volume of trade has declined considerably, as Syria has been cut off from its main trading partners and its official exports to its neighbouring countries, except for those to Iran and Russia, have virtually ceased.

Syria's trade balance is structurally negative, and the deficit has widened since the start of the war, as exports have fallen faster than imports, largely driven by a dramatic decline in oil and tourism receipts: earnings from these sectors, which amounted to about USD 12.8 billion in 2010, are now almost null. According to WTO data, in 2021 merchandise imports amounted to USD 6.4 billion, while exports only reached USD 739 million. In comparison, a year before the war, imports reached 19.7 billion USD and exports 12.2 billion USD.

Foreign Trade Values 20172018201920202021
Imports of Goods (million USD) 5,8007,4256,6845,4186,463
Exports of Goods (million USD) 1,800624507868739

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP)
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -2.531.3-6.2-2.2-11.8
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -4.430.0-14.410.747.1
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 45.441.735.729.033.6
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 21.719.314.913.014.8

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20222023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change)
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change)

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

International Economic Cooperation
Syria is a member of the following international economic organisations: IMF, Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), ICC, Arab Monetary Fund (AMF), G-24, G-77, Arab League, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates Syria click here. International organisation membership of Syria is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
The complete and up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by Syria can be consulted here.

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.

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Actualitzacions: November 2023

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