|Industrial exports rise to $832m in Lebanon (Daily Star)
|Lebanese Industrial exports rose to $832 million in the first seven months of the year compared to $565 million in the same period of 2003, an increase of 29 percent, a senior official at the Industry Ministry said Friday.
"Lebanese industrialists have exported more goods to other countries this year," said Fadi Samaha, the director general of the ministry.
Samaha, who was speaking during a news conference at the ministry to announce the launch of a new census department on industrial development, outlined the growth of the sector over the past few years.
Industrial exports rose considerably in the past two years thanks to the opening of the Iraqi market, sources said.
They said more Lebanese made products are entering the European market following the signing of the Euro-Med partnership agreement in June 2002.
On his part, Industry Minister Elias Skaff said during the press conference that his ministry issued more than 1,000 industrial licenses in the last 18 months.
"We are aware of the difficulties that industrial sector is facing and hope that the government will help reduce the cost of production in the future," Skaff said.
Lebanese industrialists say that the cost of electricity, fuel oil, labor and land are much higher than other regional states.
They said that cheap made goods from neighboring states and China are causing havoc on the Lebanese industry.
Fadi Abbou, the presidents of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists, local manufacturers invested over $1 billion over the past 10 years to improve output.
But Abbou said the free trade agreements between Lebanon and other countries will harm local manufacturers due to the cost of production in these states are cheaper than here.
The Daily Star