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Syria’s first steps towards free markets

Euromoney asked Wafic Rida Said, businessman and chairman of the First Saudi Investment Corporation, to offer some thoughts on the opening up of Syria.

Wafic Rida

The question that everyone will want to ask about Syria is this: do recent economic reforms amount to a new dawn? I, for one, think that they do. This last year has seen a very important change of mood and direction with the arrival on the scene of the new young president, Dr Bashar Al-Assad. While there may be some in Syria for whom change is unwelcome and to be resisted, there can be no doubt of the president's commitment to modernize and reform every aspect of his country or of his eagerness to attract foreign investment and technological know-how.

Syria is in an exciting period of transition - from one generation to another, from one economic model to another, from a closed system to an open one. The Association Agreement, which Syria is negotiating with the European Union, aims at a free trade area by the end of the decade.

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