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 20172018201920202021
Imports of Goods (million USD) 19,91120,39619,64111,35513,857
Exports of Goods (million USD) 4,0263,8304,8294,0854,590
Imports of Services (million USD) 13,81514,24313,3365,7340
Exports of Services (million USD) 15,13615,55113,5824,9850

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 2022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (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)
2021
United Arab Emirates 24.3%
Switzerland 10.1%
Cameroon 6.7%
Qatar 4.8%
Egypt 4.1%
See More Countries 49.9%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2021
Türkiye 11.0%
Greece 9.9%
China 9.2%
United States 5.6%
United Arab Emirates 5.5%
See More Countries 58.9%

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

 
 

Main Products

4.2 bn USD of products exported in 2021
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 10.7%
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) 10.0%
Furniture and parts thereof, n.e.s. (excl. seats...Furniture and parts thereof, n.e.s. (excl. seats and medical, surgical, dental or veterinary furniture) 7.3%
Grapes, fresh or driedGrapes, fresh or dried 5.5%
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) 4.2%
See More Products 62.4%
13.9 bn USD of products imported in 2021
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 26.9%
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) 5.8%
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 4.8%
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) 3.7%
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) 3.5%
See More Products 55.4%

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

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Latest Update: November 2022