domestic industries, private management, secession, economic sector, flour mills
Syrian manufacturing industries began to grow substantially in the 1960s. The government encouraged industrialization by raising tariffs on imported consumer goods and providing tax exemptions and credit for domestic industries. During the period when Syria was federated with Egypt in the United Arab Republic (February 1958 through September 1961), governmental involvement in the economic sector was greatly expanded, and in July 1961, shortly before Syria seceded from the union, most industrial concerns were nationalized. After the secession, except for a large textile concern and several flour mills, Syrian industry was denationalized. The requirement that companies distribute 25 percent of their profits to their employees was retained, however. Many of the industries that were returned to private management after the break with Egypt were renationalized in 1965.
Textiles constitute the largest single manufacturing industry in Syria. In 1994 cotton yarn production was about 37,000 metric tons, while other cotton, woolen, and mixed textiles totaled 16,700 metric tons. Syrian artisans continue to be noted, as in centuries past, for the fine quality of their silk brocades and rugs and for their artistic metalwork in brass, copper, silver, iron, and steel. Annual cement production was about 3.2 million tons in the early 1990s. The soap, glass, flour, tobacco, tanning, vegetable oil, and food-processing industries were growing in the early 1990s.
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