Lebanon Businessnews News

Prior import license required for potato chips
Measure to protect local production from dumping
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The Ministry of Industry (MOI) recently issued a decision prohibiting potato chips importers from importing without first receiving a license. This decision only concerns natural potato chips and aims to decrease the amount imported from 1,500 tons to 1,000 tons, per year.

Local potato chip producers have previously requested a measure to limit the amount of potato chips imported, in order to protect their production from dumping. Hashem Koussa, Chairman of Malco Group, manufacturer of Fantasia potato chips, said: “This decision will leave a positive impact on producers, as factories will increase production to fill the gap that will be left in the market.”

The decision will be implemented as of May 1. Importers will have to receive a license from MOI prior to bringing their products into the country. The license is granted only after product quality and price have been studied by MOI.

The total local production of natural potato chips is 6,500 tons per year. According to Adel Abi Chaker, Chairman of Many Food, importers of Lays, the market share of imported natural potato chips does not exceed 22 percent. “We will abide by the decision and reduce the amounts imported from 1,400 tons to 1,000 tons per year,” said Abi Chaker.

Koussa said that local producers are facing fierce competition from imports, especially from Gulf countries. Local operational costs, including the workforce and resources, are double those in the Gulf.

“Importing goods encourages producers to enhance the quality of their products,” said Abi Chaker.

According to Abi Chaker, this decision will not lead to an increase in the prices of imported goods. “Although our profits are eroding, we have not taken the decision to raise prices, in order to maintain our competitiveness in the market,” said Koussa.
Reported by Rania Ghanem
Date Posted: Apr 20, 2015
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