REYHANLI - Doğan News Agency
A number of Syrian migrants residing in Turkey have been making over $5 million worth of exports to their home country daily, the head of their trade association has said.
“We export mainly food products to Syria via the border gates of Cilvegözü and Öncüpınar, worth over $5 million a day. Our aim is to meet daily food needs in Syria. We plan to increase our exports as well. Thus, we bring foreign exchange income to Turkey, which has hosted us since the beginning of the civil war in Syria,” said Taher Ahmad Kasem, the head of the Syrian Trade and Industry Chamber in Turkey.
He noted that the association, which was established some 21 months ago near the southeastern district of Reyhanlı, now has 600 members, adding that they planned to launch branches in the southern provinces of Mersin and Gaziantep.
Kasem said the association made the required applications to export granulated sugar to Syria from Turkey and hoped to receive approval.
Reminding that Turkish companies could import cotton, cumin, lentils and broad beans from Syria with the permission of the Customs and Trade Ministry, he added that the same permission should be offered to Syrian companies as well.
“We want to import several agricultural products which are produced by farmers in Idlib and the neighboring region near the Turkish border, including lentils, cumin and olives. We have made the required applications to the ministry,” he said, while also thanking the authorities for their support.
Syrian companies, though few in the context of the Turkish economy with over 50,000 new companies opening each year, are now over a quarter of all new foreign-owned enterprises established annually.
In only the first seven months of the year, a total of 2,786 foreign-partnered companies were founded in Turkey, according to the latest data from the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB). Some 1,102 of them were partnered with Syrians and 177 each with Iraqis and Germans.