Import barriers imposed on some consumer products. Clothing, food, confectionary, and detergents affected by new measure - Lebanon

Import barriers imposed
on some consumer products
Clothing, food, confectionary,

and detergents affected by new measure

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The Cabinet approved the Ministry of Economy and Trade’s request to take protective measures against imported products that compete with similar local products.

Alia Abbas, Director General at the Ministry, said these protective measures will include banning the entrance of some products, referring the imported goods to the Custom’s red line for further inspection, or imposing customs fees.

The Cabinet agreed to ban the import of some kinds of detergents that are entering from countries that Lebanon does not have a trade agreement with.

Confectionary products, specifically wafer imported from Turkey have also been banned. Abbas said that these products are imported in huge amounts, at prices lower than the local production cost.

According to Dany Gedeon, Director General at the Ministry of Industry, the main problem local products are facing is from products imported from China and Turkey. Imports from China account for around $2 billion yearly while exports to China do not exceed $20 million. Imports from Turkey represent around $800 million while exports stand at $120 million.

Jihad Tannir, Vice Chairman of Beirut Traders Association (BTA), said: “We are against these measures, and any decisions that limit the flow of goods to the country.” He said that the industries will never be able to compete locally and abroad because all raw materials are imported.

Abbas said that the free flow of goods is healthy for the economy if it is applied according to rules and laws.

Imported clothes should pass through the ‘Red Line’ to verify the real value of the products in the containers and invoices. Some importers are being suspected of under declaration. Used clothes have been banned.

Customs fees will be imposed on some kinds of flour and poultry products, but amending the customs fees on these products requires the Parliament’s approval. Abbas said that the Ministry will set the prices for these two products to avoid price manipulation.

Cornflakes and aluminum profile products were considered as victims of dumping. According to Gedeon, a special committee including the ministries of Economy and Trade, Industry, Agriculture, and Customs will take a decision regarding dumping. “If the committee proved that there is dumping, even from countries that we have trade agreements with, a fee of up to 25 percent can be imposed,” said Gedeon. Amending the tariffs will require a law from the Parliament.
Reported by Rania Ghanem
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Date Posted: May 18, 2018