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Syrians see hoarding, price rises after import ban

Syrians see hoarding, price rises after import ban

Consumer goods prices skyrocket as sweeping import ban is imposed last week, adding to woes of Syrians amid violent government crackdown.

October 1, 2011 1:05 by

Economy and Trade Minister Mohammed al-Shaar told the state news agency SANA that the ban was in the national interest and was needed to counter political turmoil, but that the authorities might expand the list of 51 items which are exempt.

Shaar warned that the state would take tough action against traders who tried to raise prices.

“We have asked traders and industrialists to take into account the interests of citizens. I am ready personally to close any shop that engages in unfair practices on consumers,” Shaar was quoted as saying.

Some businessmen support the ban, which they say will help Syrian products which have been hard hit by cheap foreign goods.

Traders at textile workshops in Aleppo and Damascus said they might get more business after Chinese imports left the market.

“Chinese products had been much more popular in recent years because they are more decorative, if not as practical as Syrian products. The ban will help us regain our lost sales,” said Muhammad Dahan, who owns a workshop in an industrial zone near Aleppo.

Local furniture makers said they were also encouraged as the ban would halt a flood of cheap Far Eastern and Turkish products — though they poor consumer sentiment might reduce any gains. (By Suleiman Al-Khalidi)

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