Exporters are penetrating markets with quality. Potential is in added value industries and markets comprising expatriates - Lebanon

Exporters are penetrating
markets with quality
Potential is in added value industries

and markets comprising expatriates

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Local industrialists and farmers have been successful at exporting their goods to various destinations. Products that find the greatest success are often those that have the highest added value, according to a special report on exporters published in the November issue of Lebanon Opportunities.

Prepared foods and beverages top the list of exports most years, followed by electrical equipment, chemical products, and paper products.

In the past decade exports have witnessed several ups and downs. Exports were growing at a fast pace between 2007 and 2012, registering a total of 60 percent growth, but started dropping in 2013 due to several factors, mainly the closure of the Syrian-Jordanian borders, and security problems in a number of countries. Exports have dropped in the last four years by 35 percent.

Local products are exported to more than 90 countries. More than half the products are exported to Arab countries. Around 15 percent are exported to Europe, and the rest are spread between Africa and America. According to Mounir Bissat, Chairman of the Council for Industrial Exports Development at the Association of Lebanese Industrialists, Arab countries are home to a lot of expatriates, which increases demand for Lebanese goods.

Local producers have always found difficulty in establishing large sustainable trade networks with Europe. Participating in exhibitions is one of the major tools that can help them do so.

The future of exports lies with value industries. According to experts, industrialists should gradually quit traditional low-tech products and head toward industries that require innovation and creativity. Fashion design, jewelry, and furniture are potential industries that can pave the way.

Several exporters are studying opportunities away from traditional markets. These include China, Russia, and some African countries. To compete in China, industrialists should be targeting middle-to-high end consumers.

According to Fadi Gemayel, Chairman of ALI, industrialists should also focus on expatriates and the diaspora spread all over the world. “If each expatriate consumed $100 of ‘Made in Lebanon’ products per year, overall exports would increase by $1.2 billion annually," said Gemayel.
Reported by Rania Ghanem
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Date Posted: Nov 03, 2017