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The business of… Beirut

Despite infrastructure challenges, a hefty national debt, and Lebanon’s $4 billion deficit, the business of Beirut is booming.

June 28, 2010 10:48 by


The ancient Phoenician seafarers of Lebanon set the precedent for this nation that relies on extensive trade to meet the most basic needs of its citizenry. Long on natural beauty, archaeological treasures, and splendid coastlines, Lebanon is short on raw materials for manufacturing, industry, and machinery. The country is a signatory to at least 30 bilateral trade and economic agreements, and more than 100 sector-specific bilateral agreements, in areas of tourism, culture, post, telecommunications, and transport.

Heavily reliant on raw material importation, the country is burdened by an enormous trade imbalance and a national debt projected to reach $55 billion this year – more than 1.5 times the gross domestic product. Imports outpaced exports three to one, topping $15.7 billion last year. Exports amounted to just over $5 billion, and included fruits and vegetables from the Bekaa Valley, metals, minerals, and assorted consumer goods.


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