That estimated dollar amount reflects a -16.8% decline from $735.9 million in 2018.
Year over year, the value of Syria’s exported products shrank by -44.2% compared to $1.1 billion for 2021.
The 5 biggest exports from the Syrian Arab Republic are olive oil, natural calcium phosphates, miscellaneous nuts, uncarded and uncombed cotton, then cumin or coriander seeds and juniper berries. Combined, those 5 leading product categories amount to over two-fifths (41.9%) of the value of all Syrian exported products in 2022.
Major Syrian Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data shows that 81.1% of products exported from Syria were bought by importers in: Iraq (20.2% of the global total), Italy (13.4%), Germany (13%), Turkey (5.5%), Saudi Arabia (4.8%), France (4.3%), Lebanon (3.8%), Jordan (3.6%), United States (3.5%), Netherlands (also 3.5%), Egypt (3.4%) and Spain (2.1%).
Given Syria’s population of an estimated 23 million people, its total $612.1 million in 2022 exports translates to approximately $30 for every resident in the Middle Eastern country.
Syria’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups categorize the highest dollar value in Syrian global shipments during 2022 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.
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: US$113.4 million (18.5% of total exports)
- Fruits, nuts: $78.1 million (12.8%)
- Vegetables: $63.8 million (10.4%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $48 million (7.8%)
- Coffee, tea, spices: $45.9 million (7.5%)
- Cotton: $35.8 million (5.9%)
- Iron, steel: $25 million (4.1%)
- Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $25 million (4.1%)
- Cereals: $15.4 million (2.5%)
- Glass: $15.2 million (2.5%)
Syria’s top 10 exports generated over three-quarters (76.1%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
The metals iron and steel represent the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 552.4% from 2021 to 2022.
In second place for improving export sales was glass sold from Syria, via a 28.5% advance.
Syria’s shipments of cotton posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 20.7%.
The leading decliner among Syria’s top 10 export categories was vegetable, fruit or nut preparations, dragged down by a -59.6% year-over-year drop.
At the more detailed 4-digit HTS code level, Syria’s most valuable exported products were olive oil (18.4% of Syria’s global total), natural calcium phosphates (7.3%), miscellaneous nuts (6.2%), uncarded and uncombed cotton (5.8%), cumin or coriander seeds and juniper berries (4.2%), iron or steel scrap (4%), preserved vegetables (3.3%), fresh apples and pears (3.1%), wheat (2.5%), glass containers including bottles, jars and pots (2.3%).
Products Behind Syria’s Best Trade Surpluses
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.
- Cotton: US$24.8 million (Up by 713.9% since 2021)
- Wool: $8.9 million (Down by -27.3%)
- Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $5.6 million (Down by -86.6%)
- Copper: $5.1 million (Down by -54.8%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $3.1 million (Down by -74%)
- Lead: $2.9 million (Down by -36.2%)
- Collector items, art, antiques: $2 million (Up by 74.7%)
- Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $2 million (Down by -4%)
- Miscellaneous animal-origin products: $822,000 (Down by -85%)
- Ships, boats: $217,000 (Down by -65.7%)
Syria has positive net exports in the international trade of cotton and wool. In turn, these cashflows indicate Syria’s strong competitive advantages under the related product categories.
Products Causing Syria’s Worst Trade Deficits
Overall Syria incurred an estimated -US$3.7 billion trade deficit during 2022, down -13.4% from -$4.3 billion in red ink one year earlier in 2021.
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.
- Plastics, plastic articles: -US$465.3 million (Up by 47.3% since 2021)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$212.9 million (Down by -4.8%)
- Milling products, malt, starches: -$206.7 million (Up by 30.9%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$195.8 million (Up by 67.8%)
- Iron, steel: -$194.4 million (Up by 21.8%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$174.4 million (Down by -10.4%)
- Cereals: -$151.6 million (Up by 7.7%)
- Machinery including computers: -$151.3 million (Down by -38.6%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: -$140.9 million (Down by -6.3%)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: -$123.8 million (Down by -19.9%)
Syria has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the product category for plastics. That category encompasses both as a material itself and items made from plastics.
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)
One key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. The unemployment rate for the Syrian Arab Republic averaged 9.6% for 2022, down from an average 9.8% jobless rate in 2021 according to Trading Economics.
Syria’s capital city is Damascus.
See also Turkey’s Top Trading Partners, Top 10 Exports from Cyprus, Iraq’s Top Trading Partners, Italy’s Top Trading Partners and Germany’s Top Trading Partners
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on September 15, 2023
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on September 15, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on September 15, 2023
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on September 15, 2023
Trading Economics, Syria Unemployment Rate. Accessed on September 15, 2023
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Syria. Accessed on September 15, 2023
Wikipedia, Syria. Accessed on September 15, 2023