TEHRAN (Iran News) – The director-general of Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPO)’s Office of Arabian and African Countries says Iran’s exports to Lebanon have increased by 266 percent, admitting that the U.S. sanctions on banking activities have restricted Iran’s trade with Lebanon.
In an interview with ILNA, Farzad Piltan said since Iran and Lebanon have earlier announced their readiness for reducing trade tariffs, the talks on signing preferential trade agreement have begun and both countries have reached agreements and the primary list has faced some changes. He noted that Iran is trying to resume talks to finalize this issue.
On the condition of the trade between Iran and Lebanon, Piltan said that Lebanon is an important country in the Middle East and among Arab states whose population is around 6.5m. He added that 50 percent of Lebanese are Muslim and 40 percent Christians and the remaining are from other religions. He added that the country has good trade relation with the world, and Beirut and Tripoli ports are of the active ports of the region as services account for 83 percent of Lebanon’s GDP.
Piltan went on to say that the per capita of the Lebanese is $19,500 which is considered a good amount and in fact the country is considered among the growing countries in terms of welfare which shows good purchasing power of consumers in the market, and admitted that the statistics belong to the era before recent crisis in this country.
He stipulated that Lebanon’s agro products like grape, potato, tomato, vegetables, olive and tobacco are of the products which can meet Iran’s demands. He then pointed to some industrial products of Lebanon and said the country in major sectors needs imports and this is a good opportunity for Iran to boost its exports. He reiterated that service sector accounts for major part of Lebanon’s GDP which includes banking services, tourism, hoteliering, restaurateuring, IT, start-ups, commercial and insurance.
Piltan went on to say that major exports of Lebanon are gold, gems, scraps of iron, copper and steel, dried fruits, zinc and tobacco and the country’s major imports are fuel, oil products, medicines, plane, corn and livestock.
He noted that China accounted for 10 percent of exports to Lebanon in 2020 and Turkey, Germany, Greece and the U.S. trailed China. Switzerland was the major importer of Lebanese products by 41.5 percent in 2020 while Saudi Arabia, the U.S, Egypt and Greece trailed Switzerland.
On the trade volume between Iran and Lebanon, he said Iran’s trade with Lebanon in the first five months of the current year was around $20m which mainly includes Iran’s exports which stood at $12.7m. He added that the figure shows 226 percent growth in terms of value and 677 percent in weight comparing to the same period last year.
Pilatan went on to say that fortunately good infrastructures have been prepared for trade between Iran and Lebanon and in case condition is provided, the trade between the two states would surpass the level of the trade of the two states in the past.
He also pointed to the problems ahead of bilateral trade and said the sanctions on the banking sector has affected banking transactions between Iranian and Lebanese banks and it has deprived economic activities of both countries from getting deserved banking services.
He then referred to the problems in transportation and shipping the goods between the two states which prolong the time of trade and increases the cost of trade. Piltan reiterated that recent political and economic developments in Lebanon have also worsened the condition for trade.