Commercial Law

LAW

Commercial Code

REFERENCE Law 33/2007
DATE OF PROMULGATION Approved by the People’s Assembly on November 27, 2007
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 9, 2007
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • The Commercial Code consists of four books:
    1. General Principles of Commerce, Merchants and Commercial Establishments- touches on the various commercial activities;
    2. Commercial Contracts- correspond to the development of the financial sector in Syria in recent years including in such areas as mortgages and charges over assets, agencies and brokerages, and banking activities;
    3. Negotiable Instruments- lays down rules for bills of exchange, promissory notes, cheques and bonds; and
    4. Insolvency- sets down the procedures for individual and company voluntary arrangements, and bankruptcy proceedings.
RELATED LEGISLATION
  • Replaces the old Commercial Code found in Legislative Decree 149/1949.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • With the changes in economic policy towards a social market economy taking place, the new Commercial Code sought to promote the Syrian market as a potential base for local and foreign investors.

LAW

Public Commercial Entities Law

REFERENCE Legislative Decree 20/1994
DATE OF PROMULGATION Promulgated by President Hafez Al-Assad on September 18, 1994
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • Public commercial entities shall be subject to the provisions of the Commercial Code.
  • In the event disputes arise involving these public entities, the competent authorities are the ordinary civil courts, not the Council of State.
RELATED LEGISLATION
  • Replaces the previous law contained in Legislative Decree 18/1974.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • Legislative Decree 20/1994 was merely amending a previous law promulgated in the 1970s, both under the administration of President Hafez Al-Assad.
  • During this time period, more restrictive approaches towards the economy were adopted as socialism was the official policy of the state.

LAW

Electronic Commerce Law

REFERENCE Law 3/2014
DATE OF PROMULGATION Approved by the People’s Assembly on March 4, 2014
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on March 11, 2014
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • Encourages and facilitates commercial transactions using electronic means.
  • Agreements between parties may be concluded electronically.
RELATED LEGISLATION
  • Expected to build on other legislation such as Law 4/2009 pertaining to electronic signatures.
  • Relates to Legislative Decree 17/2012, which addresses possible cybercrime offences.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • This Law was enacted against the backdrop of internal conflict in Syria but which the government nevertheless promoted in order to simplify commercial dealings.
  • May be presumed to be part of plans for reconstruction.

LAW

Foreign Businesses Law

REFERENCE Law 34/2008
DATE OF PROMULGATION Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 18, 2008
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 24, 2008
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • In addition to corporate matters, this Law also regulates agents and other intermediaries.
  • These parties must possess Syrian nationality and reside in Syria.
RELATED LEGISLATION
  • This Law may be read in conjunction with the Commercial Code contained in Law 33/2007, particularly the provisions dealing with agents and other intermediaries.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • With the changes in economic policy towards a social market economy taking place, this Law sought to promote the Syrian market as a potential base for local and foreign investors.

LAW

Public Transactions Law

REFERENCE Legislative Decree 15/2001
DATE OF PROMULGATION Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 3, 2001
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • In commercial dealings with the public sector, most foreign businesses must either contract with a commercial agent or establish a branch office in Syria.
RELATED LEGISLATION
  • Law 34/2008 regulates agencies and the establishment of certain entities by foreign businesses in Syria.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • This law was enacted during the time Syria began to gradually liberalize its economy but not before plans for a social market economy were officially announced.

LAW

Competition Law

REFERENCE Law 7/2008
DATE OF PROMULGATION Approved by the People’s Assembly on March 31, 2008
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on April 3, 2008
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • Establishes the Competition Protection and Anti-Monopoly Commission and its executive organ the Competition Council.
  • The pricing of goods and services shall be determined in accordance with the principles of supply and demand and free competition.
  • Anti-competitive agreements are prohibited.
  • Economic concentrations that result in a market share of more than 30% must be notified to the Competition Commission.
RELATED LEGISLATION
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • With the changes in economic policy towards a social market economy taking place, this Law sought to promote the Syrian market as a potential base for local and foreign investors.

LAW

Anti-Dumping Law

REFERENCE Law 42/2006
DATE OF PROMULGATION Approved by the People’s Assembly on October 19, 2006
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on October 29, 2006
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • Establishes the Anti-Dumping Committee.
  • Permits the government to take necessary action in the event an unusual supply of imports floods the domestic market and poses a risk to Syrian production.
RELATED LEGISLATION
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • Bearing in mind the changes in economic policy towards a social market economy taking place, this Law sought to protect local producers against the effects of unfair competition from abroad.

LAW

Import Deposit Rules

REFERENCE MEFT Regulation 703/2015
DATE OF PROMULGATION Issued by Dr. Humam Al-Jazairi, Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade, on December 15, 2015
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • Import licenses are to be granted to traders based on three categories of goods- A, B and C.
  • Different deposit requirements apply for each category and they include 50%, 25% and 0% of the value of the imports for the A, B and C categories respectively.
  • Depending on the importance of the goods in question, importers will have to deposit the relevant amounts in Syrian Pounds with the Central Bank after they receive preliminary approval from the Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade to import the goods and before the issuance of the actual license.
RELATED LEGISLATION
  • Amended by MEFT Regulation 481/2016.
  • Executive Regulations issued by the Central Bank.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • The latest measures for granting import licenses aim to reduce the current pressures on the Syrian Pound, which has depreciated significantly during the ongoing conflict.

LAW

Consumer Protection Law

REFERENCE Law 14/2015
DATE OF PROMULGATION Approved by the People’s Assembly on June 25, 2015
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 26, 2015
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • Seeks to ensure that sellers respect competition in the markets.
  • Includes provisions governing prices by imposing important controls on merchants to protect consumers against price increases and monopolistic practices.
  • Measures in this Law include deploying inspectors into the markets to monitor vendors.
  • Provides for the regulation of imports.
  • Manufacturers are expected to maintain the quality of their products by adhering to certain standards of production.
  • Strict penalties have been adopted to deter the sale of products, which may be of poor quality or contaminated.
  • Consumers have the right to be informed of the details of a product or service.
  • False advertising or fraud is outlawed.
  • Sanctions against violators are expected to include heavy fines and imprisonment.
RELATED LEGISLATION
  • Repeals the previous legislation provided for in Law 2/2008.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • This law was enacted against the backdrop of internal conflict in Syria, which was having wide repercussions on the state of the economy and the supply of goods and services.