File - A man shops at a consumer corporation affiliated to the Ministry of Internal Trade in Damascus February 22, 2015. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
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Syria's government, presiding over an economy ravaged by war and facing dwindling foreign currency reserves, is taking new measures to slash imports and prop up exports.Importers require government licenses that allow them to request a favorable exchange rate at the Syrian central bank.The central bank offered preferential exchange rates to just 13 percent of those granted licenses.The measures come as Syria's economy suffers the ravages of more than four years of conflict that began with an anti-government uprising in March 2011 .The Syrian Center for Policy Research estimates losses to the Syrian economy totaling $202.6 billion, equivalent to 383 percent of GDP in 2010, the year before war broke out.According to Al-Watan, Syria's exports in 2014 were worth just $1.8 billion, down from $11.3 billion in 2010 .The ratio of exports to imports deteriorated from 82.7 percent in 2010 to 29.7 percent in 2014, according to SCPR.To reach Iraq, exports must go through the Tanaf border crossing, which is held by the government on the Syrian side, but controlled by ISIS on the Iraqi side.
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