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Foreign Trade in Figures

The share of Lebanon’s foreign trade has been declining sharply in recent years and stood at nearly 79% of GDP in 2021, up from 50% one year earlier mostly due to the contraction in GDP (World Bank, latest data available). Hydrocarbons continud to represent a significant portion of the country's imports (29%), reaching 5.6 billion USD in 2022 (an increase of +44% in value but a decrease of -17% in volume). The main non-hydrocarbon imports included electrical machinery and instruments (13%, up by +108%, partially due to increased installation of private-use photovoltaic panels) and vehicles (10.5%, up by +78%). In the same year, the main export items from Lebanon were precious metals (22% of the total), basic metals (14%), agri-food products (11%), plastic (11%), and chemicals (11% - data Franch Ministry of Economy).

According to data by Comtrade, Lebanon’s main export partners in 2022 were the United Arab Emirates (23.3%), Syria (9.6%), Turkey (4.5%), Egypt (4.4%), and Iraq (4.2%); whereas imports come chiefly from China (13.8%), Turkey (12.4%), Greece (9.8%), Italy (5.8%), anf the United States (5.0%). 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, while imports are also hindered by the lack of hard currency. The embargo on Lebanese imports imposed by Saudi Arabia since October 2021 has had a significant negative impact on exports. Indeed, the country represented a significant market for Lebanese sales of fruits and vegetables (14% of the total exported in 2020) as well as for chemical and pharmaceutical products (11%); whereas the decrease in precious metals exports was the main factor behind a decline in exports to Switzerland in 2022.

The country's trade balance is structurally in deficit, a trend that may worsen in the future. According to WTO data, in 2022 Lebanese merchandise exports stood at USD 4.3 billion as opposed to USD 19.5 billion in imports (-4.8% and +40.7% year-on-year, respectively). No data is available for the trade in services. As per the Customs Administration, Lebanon's trade shortfall amounted to USD 8.32 billion between Jan-Aug 2023, a decrease from the USD 10.36 billion recorded in the corresponding period the previous year. Imported goods registered a year-on-year decline of 16.27%, reaching USD 10.69 billion, while total exports experienced a slight y-o-y decrease of 1.46%, reaching USD 2.38 billion.

 
Foreign Trade Values 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 20,39619,64111,35513,85719,503
Exports of Goods (million USD) 3,8304,8294,0854,5904,370
Imports of Services (million USD) 14,32813,1574,8024,7410
Exports of Services (million USD) 15,61913,6734,9545,8470

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

Foreign Trade Indicators 20172018201920202021
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 68.568.363.050.178.8
Trade Balance (million USD) -14,459-14,912-13,454-6,584-8,343
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -13,130-13,621-12,938-6,432-7,236
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 2.11.3-9.5-46.0-12.2
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 3.9-4.7-0.9-53.713.1
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 46.547.542.333.852.8
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 21.920.820.716.426.0

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20232024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)2027 (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)
2022
United Arab Emirates 23.3%
Syria 9.6%
Türkiye 4.5%
Egypt 4.4%
Iraq 4.2%
See More Countries 54.1%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2022
China 13.8%
Türkiye 12.4%
Greece 9.8%
Italy 5.8%
United States 5.0%
See More Countries 53.2%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

3.9 bn USD of products exported in 2022
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) 11.3%
Polyacetals, other polyethers and epoxide resins,...Polyacetals, other polyethers and epoxide resins, in primary forms; polycarbonates, alkyd resins, polyallyl esters and other polyesters, in primary forms 6.9%
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 5.1%
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) 3.8%
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) 3.7%
See More Products 69.2%
19.5 bn USD of products imported in 2022
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 28.2%
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) 7.4%
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 5.3%
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) 2.6%
Diodes, transistors and similar semiconductor...Diodes, transistors and similar semiconductor devices; photosensitive semiconductor devices, incl. photovoltaic cells whether or not assembled in modules or made up into panels (excl. photovotaic generators); light emitting diodes; mounted piezoelectric crystals; parts thereof 2.1%
See More Products 54.4%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. 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

8.2 bn USD of services exported in 2022
64.83%
18.17%
7.60%
2.93%
2.07%
1.17%
1.04%
0.91%
0.59%
0.41%
0.27%
6.1 bn USD of services imported in 2022
52.21%
24.86%
14.97%
2.96%
2.33%
1.36%
0.66%
0.32%
0.16%
0.14%
0.03%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Actualitzacions: February 2024

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