15 January 2019
Did you know that there are more people of Lebanese origin who live outside of Lebanon than who live in Lebanon? This diaspora is what gives Lebanon a unique advantage for doing business.
It has a very well-developed business network in the Arab world with close ties to the Middle East, Africa and the Persian Gulf countries. Therefore, doing business in Lebanon can be used as a gateway platform for the MENA region.
Despite its relatively small size (with just over 6 million inhabitants), and the ravages of the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990), Lebanon’s economy is slowly recovering thanks to its strong banking system, an active commercial trading hub and the resilience of small- and medium-size businesses, many of them family-owned. The capital city, Beirut, has begun reconstruction and received pledges at the CEDAR conference in Paris exceeding $17 billion in 2018 to continue infrastructure development and to boost its economy. Major contributors include the World Bank, Saudi Arabia, the European Union and a few Persian Gulf countries.
Canada is very well-perceived in Lebanon. In 2017, trade between Canada and Lebanon was valued at $158 million, a 45% increase since 2014. Canada’s exports to Lebanon were worth $126 million, and imports from Lebanon totalled $32 million.
Key Canadian exports to Lebanon include vehicle parts, agri-foods (in particular wheat and legumes), pharmaceuticals and other industrial and consumer goods. Agri-foods constitute the majority of Canada’s imports from Lebanon.
In addition, there are many opportunities for Canadian companies to develop business in multiple sectors such as : information and communication technologies, fintech, cleantech, consumer products, aerospace, agri-food, education, health and last but not least, engineering and construction. The Lebanese people are very tech savvy and open to new innovations.
To answer the question " why do business in Lebanon?", we paraphrase Mr. Sohrab Farid, senior trade commissioner at the Canadian Embassy for Egypt, Lebanon and Syria, "If your company is not doing business in Lebanon, then your European and Middle Eastern competitors will ".
The Canada-Lebanon Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CLCCI) in Montréal is organizing a trade mission to Lebanon this spring, supported by the Canadian Embassy. Companies participating in the trade mission will have a schedule established with individual meetings and group activities. If you are interested or would like more information, please contact Lydia Cappelli at ExMO or Mr. Charles Aboukhaled, president of the Canada-Lebanon Chamber of Commerce.
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