Syria’s Top 10 Exports

Syrian Arab Republic flag


A West Asian nation bordering Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Israel, the Syrian Arab Republic shipped an estimated US$695.1 million worth of goods around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount reflects a -53.7% decrease since 2013 and a -14.4% drop from 2016 to 2017.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Syria’s exported goods plus services represent 9.4% of total Syrian economic output or Gross Domestic Product. Please note that the overall value of exported goods and services includes re-exports. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

Given Syria’s population of 18 million people, its total $695.1 million in 2017 exports translates to approximately $40 for every resident in that country.

Syria’s unemployment rate was 15.2% for 2017 compared to 15% in 2016, according to Trading Economics.

Syria’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Syrian global shipments during 2017 at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Syria.

Drilling down to 4-digit HTS codes, Syria’s most valuable exported goods are cumin/anise/coriander/caraway spice seeds ($113.6 million), olive oil ($74.9 million), miscellaneous nuts ($42.5 million), fresh apples and pears ($41.8 million), cotton yar ($25.8 million), dried shelled vegetables ($18.7 million), uncombed cotton ($17.9 million) then oil seeds ($14.5 million).

  1. Coffee, tea, spices: US$130.8 million (18.8% of total exports)
  2. Fruits, nuts: $121.7 million (17.5%)
  3. Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $76.6 million (11%)
  4. Vegetables: $65.5 million (9.4%)
  5. Cotton: $45.2 million (6.5%)
  6. Oil seeds: $20.6 million (3%)
  7. Soaps, washing preparations, lubricants, waxes: $20.3 million (2.9%)
  8. Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $17.9 million (2.6%)
  9. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $17.5 million (2.5%)
  10. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $16.2 million (2.3%)

Syria’s top 10 exports accounted for just over three-quarters (76.6%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Two of these top categories increased in value from 2016 to 2017: cotton (up by 20.8%) trailed by coffee, tea and spices (up by 8.5%).

Leading the decliners was knitted or crocheted clothing and accessories via a -40.4% decrease, trailed by unknitted and non-crocheted clothing and accessories (down by -26.2%) then animal or vegetable fats, oils and waxes (down -18.4%).


The following types of Syrian product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Fruits, nuts: US$89.8 million (Down by -12.1% since 2016)
  2. Wool: $10.8 million (Down by -39%)
  3. Lead: $9.2 million (Up by 43.5%)
  4. Cotton: $6.9 million (Reversing a -$4.6 million deficit)
  5. Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $4.9 million (Down by -55.2%)
  6. Miscellaneous animal-origin products: $2.5 million (Down by -12.1%)
  7. Headgear: $1.7 million (Up by 3.8%)
  8. Live trees, plants, cut flowers: $1.11 million (Down by -36.8%)
  9. Collector items, art, antiques: $1.1 million (Up by 19.7%)
  10. Furskins, artificial fur: $770,000 (Down by -83.5%)

Syria has positive net exports in the international trade of pistachios, almonds, walnuts, apples, pears, strawberries, oranges, figs and avocados. In turn, these cashflows indicate Syria’s strong competitive advantages under the fruits and nuts category.


Overall Syria incurred a -$4.2 billion trade deficit during 2017, up 3.9% from -$4 billion in red ink for 2016.

Below are exports from Syria that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Syria’s goods trail Syrian importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Electrical machinery, equipment: -US$301.9 million (Down by -5.5% since 2016)
  2. Vehicles: -$292.6 million (Up by 3.3%)
  3. Plastics, plastic articles: -$260.9 million (Down by -3.4%)
  4. Machinery including computers: -$244.5 million (Up by 9.2%)
  5. Sugar, sugar confectionery: -$201.9 million (Down by -3.6%)
  6. Cereals: -$155.3 million (Up by 26.7%)
  7. Iron, steel: -$145.5 million (Up by 35.2%)
  8. Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$108.8 million (Up by 0.5%)
  9. Knit or crochet fabric: -$98 million (Up by 37.5%)
  10. Pharmaceuticals: -$96.4 million (Up by 5.3%)

Syria has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the electrical machinery and equipment category notably electric accumulators and mobile phones.


Syrian Export Companies

Not one Syrian corporation ranks among the Forbes Global 2000.

Wikipedia lists exports-related companies from Syria. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Bank of Syria and Overseas (international bank)
  • Château Bargylus (wine)
  • Chemins de Fer Syriens (industrial transportation)
  • Hmisho Trading Group (heavy metals, vehicles)
  • Syrian Petroleum Company (oil, gas)

Syria’s capital city is Damascus.

See also Turkey’s Top Trading Partners, Top 10 Exports from Cyprus and Capital Facts for Damascus, Syria

Research Sources:
Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 21, 2018

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on August 21, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 21, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on August 21, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on August 21, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Syria. Accessed on August 21, 2018

Wikipedia, Syria. Accessed on August 21, 2018