ISTANBUL, Turkey, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Syria, Lebanon,Turkey and Jordan plan to create an economic free trade zone, the Syrian news agency SANA reported.
The announcement was made after a meeting attended by the trade ministers of the four countries in Istanbul during the weekend.
The free trade zone is aimed at promoting competitiveness, supporting scientific research and building strategic partnerships to boost trade exchange and support small and medium-sized institutions to overcome obstacles facing trade, the agency said.
"Establishing a free trade zone among Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey aims at creating a regional economic bloc to help these countries face the repercussions of the global economic crisis and strengthen their economies," Syrian Minister of Economy and Trade Lamia Assi was quoted saying.
Assi said the project will help create a sustainable environment to guarantee increasing trade exchange and investment flow among the four countries, and have a positive effect on the political dialogue and economic growth in the region.
"The international developments require more efforts and initiatives to develop capabilities and achieve sustainable economic development to integrate into world economy through interactive economic partnerships with international economic groups," Assi told the news agency.
Jordan's Minister of Industry and Trade Amer al-Hadidi, said the current economic situation requires joint cooperation in trade, investment and exchange in knowledge.