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Trade Performance

Situated on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, in the heart of the Arab world, Lebanon’s role in the region was principally shaped by trade that constituted a significant source of both income and employment.

 

Overall trade to and from Lebanon has been impacted by the regional conflict and the closing of the border areas with Syria. To counter the impact of the decline, the Lebanese Government introduced the Maritime Lebanese Bridge Program (M LEB) to support exporters in re-routing their exports through sea routes. 

IMPORTS & EXPORTS

IMPORTS

 

In 2015, Lebanese imports reached a value of USD 18.1 billion down from20.5 billion in 2014. Major imports in 2015 included Mineral products (19% of total imports), Machinery and Electrical equipment (11%), Chemical products (11%), Vehicles and other transportation equipment (10%), Food & Beverage (8%), and metal products (6%).

 

IMPORT COMPOSITION (2015)

IMPORT COMPOSITION (2015)
Source: Higher Council of Customs

 

EXPORTS


Exports followed the same trend, registering a decline of USD 360 million and reaching USD 2.9 billion in 2015. Major exports included Food & Beverages (16% of total exports), Pearls, precious stones and metals (16%), Machinery and Electrical equipment (13%), Chemical Products (12%) and Metals products (11%).

 

EXPORT COMPOSITION (2015)

EXPORT COMPOSITION (2015)
Source: Higher Council of Customs

TRADE PARTNERS

Top trade export partners in 2015 were Saudi Arabia with 12% of total exports, UAE with 11% of total share, followed by Iraq with 8%, as well as Syria and South Africa at 7%. Middle Eastern countries continue to be the main export markets, receiving more than 55% of total Lebanese exports. These exports were valued at USD 1.6 billion in 2015.

 

European Union countries follow, and account for 11% of total exports. The opening up of the Lebanese economy to Arab and European countries through the various trade agreements, and more specifically the EFTA (European Free Trade Agreement) signed in 2002, have clearly facilitated market access and impacted export composition.

 

MAIN DESTINATION OF EXPORTS (2015)

 

Country

% Share of
Total Exports

Top Exported Products

Saudi Arabia

12%

Prepared Foodstuffs (Beverages & Tobacco); Machinery & Electrical Instruments; Chemical Products; Vegetable Products
United Arab Emirates

11%

Pearls ,Precious Metals & Stones; Chemical Products; Metals Products; Prepared Foodstuffs (Beverages & Tobacco)
Iraq

8%

Prepared Foodstuffs;  Chemical Products; Machinery & Electrical Instruments; Live Animals & Animal Products
Syrian Arab Republic

7%

Prepared Foodstuffs (beverages& Tobacco); Plastic and Rubber; Chemical Products; Vegetable Products
South Africa 7% Pearls, Precious Stones and Metals; Vegetable Products; Textiles; Plastics and Rubber
Jordan

4%

Chemical Products; Vegetable Products; Prepared Foodstuffs (Beverages & Tobacco); Machinery & Electrical Instruments
Egypt

3% 

Machinery & Electrical Instruments; Vegetable Products; Prepared Foodstuffs (Beverages & Tobacco); Paper and Paperboard

Source: Higher Council of Customs

The top trade import partners during 2015 were China with 11% of total share, followed by Italy and Germany with 7%, well as France and the United States with 6%. The largest suppliers of Lebanese products are European countries with 43% of total share of imports.

  

MAIN ORIGIN OF IMPORTS (2015)

 

Country

% Share of
Total Imports

Top Imported Products

China

11%

Machinery & Electrical Instruments; Metal Products; Textiles; Plastics and Rubber
Italy

7%

Mineral Products; Chemical Products; Textiles; Metal Products
Germany

7%

Vehicles and Other Transport Equipment; Chemical Products; Machinery and Electrical Instruments; Prepared Foodstuffs (beverages & tobacco)
France

6%

Mineral Products; Chemical Products; Vehicles and Other Transport Equipment; Prepared Foodstuffs (beverages & tobacco)
United States 6% Vehicles and Other transport Equipment; Chemical Products; Machinery and Electrical Instruments; Mineral Products
Russian Federation

5%

Mineral Products; Vegetable Products; Metal Products; Wood and Articles of Wood

Source: Higher Council of Customs

TRADE REGIME

Lebanon has a free trade system and a competitive market with a commercial proactive approach.

 

According to the latest Trade (MFN) Tariff Restrictiveness Index (TTRI), Lebanon ranked 59th out of 125 countries, making  it  more open than that of an average Middle East and North Africa (MNA) or lower‐middle‐income country.


In fact, Lebanon's imposed tariffs are negligible and one of the lowest among MENA countries; more than 84 % of customs' tariff lines have duties equal to 0 or 5 %. The government does not impose tariffs on exports, and import tariffs were reduced by 80% in 2008. 


Export activities benefit from favorable access to international markets. The numerous trade agreements signed with Arab countries and the European Union aim at enhancing economic integration and access of Lebanese products. As a member of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA) and a signatory of the Association Agreement with the EU, and a number of other bilateral and multilateral agreements. 
Lebanon provided the opportunity for Lebanese companies to access, customs free, and markets close to 800 million people. 

 

In 2015, the trade deficit in Lebanon contracted by 12.04%, to register USD 15.12B due to a 11.83% decline in total imports outpacing the 10.75% fall in total exports. This decrease is largely affected by the international low oil prices.

 

LEBANON’S TRADE BALANCE (2015) 

LEBANON’S TRADE BALANCE (2015)
Source: 
Higher Council of Customs

Get in Touch
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Phone
+961 1 983306 / 7 / 8
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LEBANON AT A GLANCE GUIDE 2016
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