PARIS – European Union ministers have been asked to approve a wide-ranging trade deal with Syria that would see the high duties restricting EU exports to that country scrapped.

But although tariffs on Syrian industrial shipments to the EU would be eliminated as soon as the proposed EU-Syria Association Agreement comes into force, many Syrian import duties would be removed more gradually.

Cars 1.6L or below currently face 145% tariffs in Syria.

The highest Syrian tariffs – including those on autos – would take 12 years to disappear, as Syria seeks to continue protection while it attempts to cultivate a more competitive domestic manufacturing industry.

Current diplomatic trouble surrounding Syria could delay proceedings. But assuming the proposed pact is formally approved by the EU Council of Ministers, Syrian duties of 145% on cars of up to 1.6L and 255% on cars exceeding 1.6L would be eliminated gradually over 12 years.

Duties on buses and minibuses (65.5%), dumpers (29%) and car bodies (185% up to 1.6L and 235% above 1.6L) also would be phased out over 12 years.

Lower-level duties would be removed on tires for most types of motor vehicles, rearview mirrors, engine cylinders, horns, windshield wipers and wide range of other parts. These tariffs currently vary in size, with duties of up to 3.5% being scrapped immediately after the agreement comes into force, and most other tariffs ranging from 5%-7% going away within three years. Duties that currently run 10%-14% would be phased out in six years, and those in the 20%-23.5% range would be abolished completely after nine years.

Most Syrian duties on metal materials, currently relatively low, would be scrapped immediately.