A Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been established in the Afrin region as a branch of the local council for the purpose of registering businesses. The establishment of the Chamber is the first step of its kind since Turkish-backed opposition factions took control of Afrin in March 2018.
The local council located in northern Aleppo Governorate announced the formation of the Chamber on Wednesday 21 February. Conditions have been placed upon the industrialists and tradespeople within the Chamber, which include seven key terms.
The seven terms in question include: the need to register an application to join the Chamber; having a lease or ownership documentation for commercial premises in the Afrin region (with leases being at least one year in length); having a photo ID issued by a regional local council; and having a license for opening a commercial premises issued by a local council.
If an applicant to join the Chamber is working on behalf of another business owner, legal documentation must be submitted in accordance with local councils’ guidance. Registrars must also provide documentation for bank accounts or an account at the Turkish Post Office, if one exists. An annual fee of one thousand US dollars must also be paid.
Those registered with the Chamber will be granted entry and exit permits from Syria to Turkish territory and vice-versa, via the “Olive Branch” (previously al-Hamam) border crossing as soon as the checkpoint is officially opened.
The new Chamber, however, will not include small industrial workshops and commercial shops engaged in retail. These must be licensed by local councils in the region, which includes paying a nominal fee.
The Afrin region is principally dependent on agriculture as well as some industries. Notably, the area was resorted to as a safe-haven by some owners of factories in Aleppo Governorate following the outbreak of conflict inside Aleppo city. While Aleppo city was considered one of Syria’s economic capitals, during the conflict it has lost a number of its industrial areas and facilities.
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