Exclusive: Sanctions Block Syria’s Vital Grain Trade
Syria is finding it increasingly hard to buy grain on international markets because sanctions have blocked its access to trade finance, while growing numbers of its citizens are struggling to obtain food after more than a year of conflict.
The European Union, the United States and other Western countries have imposed sanctions on President Bashar al-Assad’s government in response to his bloody crackdown on a revolt that has cost more than 10,000 lives.
The measures, which include asset freezes and financing restrictions, have hurt Syria’s vital commercial grain trade.
Syria relies on food imports for almost half of its total needs, with wheat used for food, while maize and barley are used mainly for animal feed.
“Syria has deep problems at the moment finding companies willing to offer grain such as barley. You can’t open a letter of credit and the risks associated with any deal seem to be rising all the time,” one trade source said.