Lebanon flag Lebanon: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of Lebanon

Foreign Trade in Figures

Lebanon strengthened its openness to international trade by signing an Association Agreement with the EU, working toward accession to the WTO and signing a free-trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in May 2004. On the other hand, the share of trade in GDP has been declining sharply in recent years and stands at nearly 46% according to World Bank (2020). Lebanon mainly exports minerals (gold), diamonds, jewellery, vehicles, ferrous waste, waste and scrap and electric & electronic equipment. The country mainly imports mineral fuels, drugs and pharmaceuticals, gold, diamonds, vehicles and live animals.
According to the latest IMF data, the volume of exports of goods and services was -53.5% in 2020, due to the country's economic and financial crisis and following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The same applies to the volume of imports, which reached a negative rate of -46.6% in 2020.

Lebanon’s main export partners are Switzerland, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Qatar, Syria and Turkey. Its main import partners are the EU (mainly Greece, Italy, Germany and France), the US, Turkey and China. The war in Syria, the drop in demand from countries in the region and the economic and political crisis in Lebanon are having a negative impact on Lebanese exports. The country's trade balance is structurally in deficit, a trend that should worsen.

According to WTO data, in 2020 Lebanese merchandise exports decreased to USD 4.1 billion, while imports decreased to USD 5.7 billion, the trade deficit reducing. As for the services sector, the level of exports in 2020 dropped to USD 5 billion, while imports dropped to USD 5.7 billion. The contraction of trade reflects the depth of the crisis.

 
Foreign Trade Values 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 18,95519,91120,39619,64111,355
Exports of Goods (million USD) 3,9304,0263,8304,8294,085
Imports of Services (million USD) n/a13,81514,24313,3365,734
Exports of Services (million USD) n/a15,13615,55113,5824,985

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 67.668.368.296.071.7
Trade Balance (million USD) -14,020-14,459-14,912-13,441n/a
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -12,107-13,130-13,621-13,167n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 5.92.11.1-9.0-46.6
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -1.53.9-4.7-1.5-53.5
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 45.946.447.460.744.8
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 21.721.920.735.426.9

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20212022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 0.00.00.00.00.0
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 0.00.00.00.00.0

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Lebanon is a member of the following international economic organisations: IMF, Arab Fund for Economic and Development (AFESD), ICC, Arab Monetary Fund (AMF), G-24, G-77, Arab League, WTO, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates Lebanon click here. International organisation membership of Lebanon is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
The up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by Lebanon can be consulted here.
 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2020
Switzerland 27.8%
United Arab Emirates 14.5%
Saudi Arabia 5.8%
United States 4.2%
Qatar 4.0%
See More Countries 43.7%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2020
United States 8.2%
Greece 7.6%
Turkey 7.4%
China 6.6%
Italy 5.8%
See More Countries 64.5%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

3.8 bn USD of products exported in 2020
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 28.6%
Diamonds, whether or not worked, but not mounted...Diamonds, whether or not worked, but not mounted or set (excl. unmounted stones for pick-up styluses, worked stones, suitable for use as parts of meters, measuring instruments or other articles of chapter 90) 6.5%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 2.8%
Ferrous waste and scrap; remelting scrap ingots of...Ferrous waste and scrap; remelting scrap ingots of iron or steel (excl. slag, scale and other waste from the production of iron or steel; radioactive waste and scrap; fragments of pigs, blocks or other primary forms of pig iron or spiegeleisen) 2.3%
Waste and scrap, of copper (excl. ingots or other...Waste and scrap, of copper (excl. ingots or other similar unwrought shapes, of remelted copper waste and scrap, ashes and residues containing copper, and waste and scrap of primary cells, primary batteries and electric accumulators) 1.8%
See More Products 58.0%
11.4 bn USD of products imported in 2020
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 27.2%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 6.3%
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 5.2%
Human blood; animal blood prepared for therapeutic...Human blood; animal blood prepared for therapeutic, prophylactic or diagnostic uses; antisera and other blood fractions and modified immunological products, whether or not obtained by means of biotechnological processes; vaccines, toxins, cultures of micro-organisms (excl. yeasts) and similar products 4.0%
Live bovine animalsLive bovine animals 2.5%
See More Products 54.8%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.

 

Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2021. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: June 2022

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