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Bilateral EU-Syria relations are governed by the Cooperation Agreement signed in 1977 but is currently suspended as regards trade in crude oil, petroleum products, gold, precious metals and diamonds.

Syria and the EU have negotiated an Association Agreement. However, the signature of the Association Agreement between the EU and Syria has been put on hold by the EU due to the internal situation in Syria and with time the legal texts of the agreement have become obsolete.  The ongoing internal repression in Syria has also led to restrictive measures by the EU and has a significant impact on bilateral trade.

Syria applied for WTO membership in October 2001. On 4 May 2010 the WTO General Council established a working party to examine the Syrian request for WTO membership.

Trade picture

  • In the context of implementation of the EU restrictive measures, bilateral trade volumes have contracted substantially over the years, to reach to only €0,5 billion in 2016, whereby imports from Syria dropped by 97% and exports by 85% as compared to 2011. The structure of trade flows changed as follows:
  • The structure of EU exports to Syria remained roughly the same, although with much lower volumes: in 2013 EU exports to Syria consisted mainly of agricultural products (50,7%), machinery and transport equipment (19,4%), and chemicals (18,2%). In 2017, EU exports to Syria still consist of agricultural products (€0,1 billion, 32,3%), chemicals (€0,1 billion, 23,6%), and  machinery and transport equipment (€0,1 billion 18,8%).
  • The structure of EU imports from Syria changed more drastically: in 2013, they consisted of fuels and mining products (36,8%), agricultural products (31,4%) and manufactured products in particular chemicals (5,8%). In 2017, EU imports from Syria mainly consist of agricultural products (€0,07 billion, 81,8%).
  • In 2011, the EU was the fourth trading partner for Syria after Iraq, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

EU-Syria: Trade in goods

Trade in goods 2017-2019, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2017 0.1 0.5 0.4
2018 0.1 0.6 0.5
2019 0.1 0.6 0.5

EU-Syria: Trade in services

Trade in services 2016-2018, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2016 0.2 0.1 -0.1
2017 0.3 0.1 -0.2
2018 0.4 0.1 -0.3

EU-Syria: Foreign direct investment

Foreign direct investment 2018, € billions
Year Inward stocks Outward stocks Balance
2018 0.1 0.7 0.6

Unless otherwise mentioned “EU” concerns for all indicated years the current European Union of 27 Member States.

Date of retrieval: 22/04/2020

More statistics on Syria

EU and Syria

Following the violent internal repression in Syria, in May 2011 the EU adopted a number of restrictive measures towards Syria, including an import ban on crude oil and petroleum products as well as export restrictions including on dual-use goods, key equipment and technology for the oil and gas industry, as well as certain telecom equipment and luxury goods.

Restrictive measures implemented by the EU also concern the financial and transport sector as well as the financing of certain enterprises and infrastructure projects in Syria. In addition to this, funds and economic resources of persons and entities supporting and/or benefiting from the Syrian regime have also been frozen.

Syria in Euromed

Syria is one of the partners of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Euromed). However, the participation of Syria to Euromed–related activities is suspended since 2011.

Euromed is one of the key initiatives of the European Neighbourhood Policy, through which the EU offers its neighbours a privileged relationship, building upon a mutual commitment to common values (including democracy and human rights, rule of law, good governance, market economy principles and sustainable development).

Euromed is an essential component in the pursuit of greater economic integration in the Mediterranean region, including among Mediterranean partners themselves.

More information on the Euro-Mediterranean partnership

Trading with Syria