The Crimean authorities plan to sign an economic cooperation agreement with Syria at the 61st Damascus International Fair to be held on August 28-September 6, Deputy Chairman of the Crimean Board of Ministers and Crimean Permanent Representative to the Russian President Georgy Muradov told reporters on Tuesday.
Crimea and Syria signed a memorandum on trade and economic cooperation during the Yalta International Economic Forum, which took place on April 17-20. The agreement stipulates that a joint trading house and a joint shipping company will be set up for providing regular maritime shipping services between the ports of Latakia and the Russian peninsula. Russia’s government approved the proposal to conclude a trade and economic agreement on August 6.
"The official delegation of the Republic of Crimea and Crimean entrepreneurs have once again been invited to the annual Damascus International Fair. It is suggested that a comprehensive agreement on trade and economic cooperation between the Republic of Crimea of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Economy and Trade of the Syrian Arab Republic be signed," Muradov stated, adding that the Crimean delegation will be staying in Syria on August 27-30.
Crimea has started developing large-scale programs for cooperation with Syria, according to the official. "First of all, this concerns our export-oriented activities, supplying goods required for Syria’s recovery," Muradov explained.
The issue of maritime shipping will also be addressed during the Damascus International Fair, he pointed out, adding that a joint shipping company would enable making export and import cheaper, as well as help employ almost idle Crimean ports.
Syrians have raised the question of creating an air route between Damascus and Simferopol, Muradov said: "Since Turkey disallows a direct flight, there may be [a flight] with a stop in Yerevan."
Crimea is interested in vegetables supplies from Syria, experts say. It can also import oranges and export apples, plums and peaches. Crimean businessmen have continued negotiations on those issues with the Syrian side since this year’s Yalta International Economic Forum in April, Chief Executive Officer of Skvortsovo Group (large agricultural producer in Crimea) Igor Polishchuk told Tass.
First Deputy Agriculture Minister of the republic Vladimir Anyukhin told TASS earlier that Crimean farmers would almost double wheat and flour supplies to Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and some other countries by the end of 2019. At least 500,000-600,000 tonnes of grain are expected to be exported.