SYRIA

Logistic and forwarding services in Syria

Syrian Arab Republic

Capital City
Damascus

Population
19.6 Mio.

National languages
Arabic

Currency
Syrian pound

Gross national product (GNP)
USD 36.6 Mrd.

GNP per person
USD 3694

Financial exports to Switzerland
CHF 18.47 Mio

Financial imports from Switzerland
CHF 0.29 Mio

Bilateral relations Switzerland–Syria

In view of the violations of international law that have been committed in Syria since the beginning of the crisis, states like Switzerland have responded in particular with economic sanctions and diplomatic measures. The Swiss embassy in Damascus was closed in 2012 for security reasons. Travel to Syria is e not recommended under any circumstances due to the security situation.

Economic cooperation

The volume of trade between the two countries is very modest.

 

Business language

Arabic, French, English.

 

Dimensions and weights

Metric system.

Currency

Syrian pound (syr. £) = 100 Piastres (PS)

ISO code: SYP

Customs tariff

Harmonised system, customs clearance based on the CIF value.

Import control

Some of the restrictive measures have been relaxed.

This includes financial sanctions in order to enable humanitarian aid and bans to protect Syrian cultural assets. There is a ban on the delivery of listed dual-use goods and luxury goods, restrictions on services and bans on the delivery of goods for internal repression. The weapons embargo still applies. An import licence is required for the import of commercial goods. This is usually valid for 12 months. From a goods value of USD 3.000 a pre-shipment inspection is required for most groups of goods (including foods, chemical products, plastics, toilet paper, textiles, electronic goods, vehicles and toys). This can be carried out by Bureau Veritas and SGS. Generally only direct imports from the countries of origin of goods are permissible. The import of goods from Israel is prohibited. A pro forma invoice (4 copies) is required to request an import licence. This must be certified by the competent Chamber of Industry and Commerce. At the end of the pro forma invoice, the exporter must sign the following legally binding (in accordance with the commercial register) declaration: “This is to certify that this proforma-invoice is true and correct and that the goods shall be exported to Syria at the above mentioned prices.” A range of goods are subject to a ban on import. This currently includes crude oil and crude oil products and armaments. There is also a negative list which lists further goods such as used industrial machines and medical devices etc. Special details should be agreed with the importer. Further important details must be taken into account. Ask chambers and associations too.

Foreign currency transactions are gradually being liberalised. State export guarantees for short-term transactions with credit terms of a maximum of 360 days are possible. A letter of credit from a Syrian bank is required as a security.

 

Terms of payment and tenders

Only letters of credit are permissible. Letters of credit can only be opened on submission of the import licence and evidence of foreign currencies earned from export transactions from the Commercial Bank of Syria. Tenders based on FOB, invoices in EUR, GBP or USD.

Designations of origin

Goods of non-Syrian origin with labels and information that may indicate that the products are Syrian must have the country of origin indicated in clear letters (“Importé de …”).

Marking/labelling

Finished products must be labelled with the name of the manufacturer and the country of origin in Arabic using stickers. Ask the importer whether and how goods and packaging should be marked.

Packaging

Seaworthy packaging. Avoid hay and straw as packaging materials. Ask the importer for instructions about labelling boxes. Ensure in particular that the packaging is stable as boxes and packages will be subject to particular stress during transport.

ISPM No. 15 is used.

 

Product samples

Samples up to SYP 500 are permitted duty free to a reasonable extent. Goods which are only imported temporarily are subject to special regulations. A customs security must be deposited. The re-export deadline is 1 year. Advertising gifts and printed materials are subject to customs duties and in some cases prohibited. Special regulations must be complied with for samples of medicinal preparations.

 

Shipping and accompanying documents

There is a ban on boycotts. This means that CICs (chambers of industry and commerce) are no longer permitted to certify commercial papers if discriminatory formulations are selected. Escaping the provisions through notaries, regional courts or others administration offices is also excluded. Positive formulations therefore have to be selected. This regulation only applies to the transport of goods; no regulations for Syria have yet to be identified for public tenders (for the text formulations see above).

Standard and:

a) Commercial invoices (4 copies in French or English) with all standard information including country of origin, gross and net weight, precise description of the goods etc. with a predefined declaration (“Nous certifions que la présente facture est authentique, qu’elle est la seule émise par nous pour les marchandises qui y sont énoncées, qu’elle mentionne leur valeur exacte de ces marchandises sans déduction d’aucun acompte et que l’origine est exclusivement: …”). “We certify that this invoice is authentic and that it is the only invoice issued for the goods described therein, that it mentions the exact value of the said goods without deduction of any advance payment. We hereby declare that the mentioned merchandise is being exported on our own account. The goods are pure … origin (where applicable: “They incorporate parts and components which originate from following countries: …)”. The invoice must also include confirmation that the delivery is not part of the Swiss reparation deliveries to Israel; a note to this effect on the invoice is generally sufficient. If the Swiss delivery company does not have a representative in Syria and Syria does not belong to the territory of an agent, the commercial invoice must include the following note, certified by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce: “Nous certifions par la présente que nous ne sommes pas représentés en Syrie que la Syrie n’entre pas dans la région d’aucun autre agent et que nous ne versons aucune commission à quiconque pour les marchandises objets de la licence d’importation”. If the commercial invoices are prepared in USD or GBP, comply with the predefined exchange rate for EUR, GBP and USD.

b) Certificates of origin (3 copies) are required as consular legalisation of the commercial invoice can only occur if the commercial invoice and the certificate of origin are submitted together (2 copies remain with the consular department).

On the back of the certificate of origin, the following declaration must be made by the exporter and signed in a legally binding (in accordance with the commercial register) manner: “We hereby declare that the mentioned merchandise is being exported on our own account. The goods are of pure … (designation of origin) origin”. The goods are manufactured by … (name and full address).

c) Bills of lading without certification.

Transport declarations: the following transport declarations are compatible with Section 4a AWV (further suggestions are available from the Chambers of Industry and Commerce): “The undersigned does hereby declare on behalf of the owner, agent or master of the above named vessel/airplane that said vessel/airplane is not registered in Israel of owned by nationals or residents of Israel and will not call at or pass through any Israeli port en route to … (e.g. Syria)”. We also make reference to the fact that transport declarations of this type may only be made for insurance reasons or to prevent the goods being seized en route via air or sea.

d) Movement certificate EUR.1 (EUR.2) can be issued as evidence of origin on request. Issued by the customs office.

e) EUR-MED

f) For postal packages up to 20 kg, 1 international dispatch note, 3 customs declarations in French/Arabic.

h) Manufacturer’s declarations requested by the importer may not be made on the certificate of origin or the commercial invoice. However, they can be provided by the exporter on his company headed paper. This must be submitted to a notary at the place of residence of the exporter for certification of the signature and then higher certification must be provided by the presiding district judge. Certification by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce is not carried out.

i) Submit the documents as early as possible. The documents must obtain a preliminary certification. The documents will then be forwarded to the consular department of the embassy; a stamped, addressed DIN A4 envelope must be included for the return. When documents are submitted, additional fees apply.

j) The payment of the legalisation fees (approx. 1.5% of the invoice total) is only possible by bank transfer (not by postal order). A copy of the transfer stamped and signed by the bank is to be attached to the documents to be legalised. The legalisation fee must be paid separately ; evidence of the transfer acknowledged by the bank must be attached (complicated method of calculating the fees – ask the Chamber of Commerce).

 

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