Investment Laws

LAW

Investment Law

REFERENCE Legislative Decree 8/2007
DATE OF PROMULGATION Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on January 27, 2007
RELEVAN TPROVISIONS
  • Lists various sectors of the economy, which are targeted for private capital investments from both local and foreign businesses.
  • Investors are entitled to purchase and lease as much land as necessary.
  • Tax incentives are applied accordingly depending on the nature of the investment project.
  • Imports are exempted from customs duties and other fees.
  • Capital and profits may be exchanged into a convertible currency and transferred abroad after tax liabilities have been settled.
  • Work and residency permits may be obtained for investors, their families and employees.
RELATED LEGISLATION
  • Legislative Decree 8/2007 repeals the previous Investment Law 10/1991.
  • Legislative Decree 8/2007 was followed by Legislative Decree 9/2007, which sets up the Syrian Investment Agency, a one-stop shop where investors can fulfill their licensing requirements.
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

Tourism Investment Rules

REFERENCE STC Regulation 186/1985
DATE OF PROMULGATION Issued by Prime Minister Abdel-Raouf Qassem on July 31, 1985
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • Invites local and foreign investors to invest in touristic projects.
  • Incentives include tax exemptions for up to seven years from the start of the project.
  • Import restrictions are reduced.
  • Capital and profits may be exchanged into a convertible currency and transferred abroad.
RELATED LEGISLATION
  • This piece of legislation was followed by STC Regulation 198/1987, which lays down conditions for the establishment of touristic projects on lands not subject to planning restrictions.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • STC Regulation 186/1985 was issued at a time when the economic situation in the country was in decline due to a shortage in the state’s foreign currency reserves.
  • In an effort to attract private capital into the economy, the touristic sector was opened up for investment.
  • These rules preceded the economic crisis of 1986 the following year.

LAW

Agricultural Investment Law

REFERENCE Legislative Decree 10/1986
DATE OF PROMULGATION Promulgated by President Hafez Al-Assad on February 26, 1986
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • Provides for investment projects in the agricultural sector carried out by a joint stock company jointly owned by the state and private partners.
  • Incentives include tax exemptions for up to seven years after the first profitable year.
  • Import restrictions are reduced.
RELATED LEGISLATION
  • While it remains in effect, this law has been overtaken to a certain extent by Investment Law 10/1991 initially and subsequently by Legislative Decree 8/2007.
  • The investment structures and exemptions granted in this law are different to those provided for in Legislative Decree 8/2007.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • This law was issued at a time when the economic situation in the country was in decline due to a shortage in the state’s foreign currency reserves.
  • In an effort to attract private capital into the economy, the agricultural sector was opened up for investment.
  • This law coincided with the economic crisis of 1986.

LAW

Electricity Law

REFERENCE Law 32/2010
DATE OF PROMULGATION Approved by the People’s Assembly on November 2, 2010
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on November 14, 2010
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • Invites local and foreign investors to participate in the electricity sector either on their own or in partnership with the public sector.
  • Private investors are allowed to generate and distribute electricity to consumers.
  • Promotes investments in renewable resources.
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.
  • This Law was also enacted after the government formally adopted the concept of public-private partnerships in the late 2000s to procure major infrastructure projects.

LAW

Private Education Law

REFERENCE Legislative Decree 55/2004
DATE OF PROMULGATION Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on September 2, 2004
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • Allows private schools to be established under the supervision of the Ministry of Education.
RELATED LEGISLATION
  • Repeals a 40-year old policy, which witnessed the nationalization of the private education system by virtue of Legislative Decree 127/1963.
  • Preceded by Legislative Decree 36/2001 pertaining to private universities.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • This law came in response to plans for education reform, which sought to reduce state control over schools.
  • This change in policy also fits in with the economic reform plans underway since the start of the decade, which sought to promote private investment in this sector.

LAW

Private Universities Law

REFERENCE Legislative Decree 36/2001
DATE OF PROMULGATION Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on August 16, 2001
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • Allows private universities to be established under the supervision of the Ministry of Higher Education.
RELATED LEGISLATION
  • Followed by Legislative Decree 55/2004 pertaining to private schools.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • This law came in response to plans for higher education reform, which sought to reduce state control over universities.
  • This change in policy also fits in with the economic reform plans underway since the start of the decade, which sought to promote private investment in this sector.

LAW

Free Zones Law

REFERENCE Legislative Decree 18/1971
DATE OF PROMULGATION Promulgated by President Ahmad Khatib on February 18, 1971
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • Sets up the General Establishment for Free Zones (GEFZ), which regulates work inside these designated areas.
RELATED LEGISLATION
  • Decree 40/2003, which replaces Decree 84/1972, governs investments by businesses in the free zones and regulates their practices.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • The GEFZ was set up just before President Hafez Al-Assad took over formally though he was at this point the most influential figure in the government where he served as the Prime Minister.
  • The GEFZ represents a part of President Assad’s policies to allow a certain degree of economic freedom to the commercial classes while at the same time maintaining socialism as state policy.

LAW

Industrial Cities Law

REFERENCE Legislative Decree 57/2004
DATE OF PROMULGATION Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on September 6, 2004
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • Establishes three industrial cities in the provinces of Rural Damascus, Aleppo and Homs.
  • A fourth industrial city was established in Deir Ez-Zor province in 2007.
RELATED LEGISLATION
  • Investors are free to set up their businesses in these industrial cities in accordance with investment legislation contained in Legislative Decree 8/2007.
  • According to Law 32/2007, foreign industrial investors licensed under Law 21/1958 to execute industrial projects are permitted to purchase and rent as much land as is necessary in the industrial cities.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • The establishment of these industrial cities follows measures to expand Syrian industrial capabilities and promote private sector participation as part of the economic reform plans underway since the start of the decade.

LAW

Syrian Investment Company Law

REFERENCE Legislative Decree 81/2010
DATE OF PROMULGATION Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on September 30, 2010
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • Intends to create a state-owned investment company to be named the ‘Syrian Investment Company’.
  • The investments that this company is envisioned to make both inside and outside Syria include establishing financial institutions, making property investments and engaging in other businesses.
RELATED LEGISLATION
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • With the changes in economic policy towards a social market economy taking place, the state also sought to become a business player.