Selling products to China will help public debt. To export olive oil, wine, nuts, and canned food instead - Lebanon

Selling products to China
will help public debt
To export olive oil, wine, nuts,
and canned food instead
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The Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Beirut and Mount Lebanon in collaboration with the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL) launched today a repayment mechanism of the Chinese loan that was offered to the State to finance public projects in 2012.

The $8 million loan will be repaid with zero interest by exporting local products including olive oil, wine, nuts, dried fruits, and canned food.

Four main official parties are involved in the repayment mechanism of the loan: From the Chinese side: China Development Bank (CDB), China National Complete Plant Import and Export Corporation (COMPLANT), and from the Lebanese side: IDAL and the Central Bank (BDL).

The Chinese COMPLANT is mandated to oversee, coordinate, and implement the repayment of the loan on behalf of the Chinese Government. BDL will execute the booking operations related to opening Letter of Credits. IDAL will be responsible of inviting interested local companies to apply within ten days. Companies eligible for application should be Lebanese, registered at one of the chambers. IDAL screens the applications and produces a list of the qualified suppliers before sending them to COMPLANT, which will select the chosen products and suppliers.

Mohamed Choucair, Chairman of the Chamber, said that this step will help industrialists penetrate China in the future. Exports to China reached $9 million in 2015.

IDAL said that several steps will be taken later to complement this one, such as organizing exhibitions.

Mounir Bissat, Head of the Council for Industrial Export Development at the Association of Lebanese Industrialists, said that the products selected by China to export are not manufactured there or not sufficient for local consumption. Industrialists will be able to compete in this area, especially since local products comply with the required standards and norms.

Bissat said that these amounts will be exported to restaurant and catering chains. “When local products become well known in restaurant chains, several opportunities will be opened for the food industry sector.”
Reported by Rania Ghanem
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Date Posted: Jan 28, 2016