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Lebanon signed an Association Agreement with the EU in June 2002, which entered into force in April 2006. As a result, Lebanese industrial as well as most agricultural products benefit from free access to the EU market.

Lebanon is in the process of negotiations accession to the WTO, an objective which the EU strongly supports.

Trade picture

  • Bilateral trade between the EU and Lebanon has been increasing steadily over the past years, with an average annual growth of 12.7% since 2008, with a total trade amounting to around €7 billion in 2013.
  • In 2012 the EU ranked as the first trading partner for Lebanon, covering slightly more than 34 % of Lebanese trade.
  • In 2013, EU imports from Lebanon consist mainly of fuels and mining products (22.8%), agriculture products (22.6%) and chemicals (13.4%). EU exports to Lebanon consist mainly of fuel and mining products (33.2%), machinery and transport equipment (19.6%) and chemicals (12.6%).
  • The Lebanese economy is based primarily on the service sector. The service sector accounts for more than 70% of the country's GDP. Construction, tourism, and financial services are the most prominent sectors among Lebanon's exports and imports of commercial services.
  • Lebanon's economy is characterized by a high level of imports and by substantial trade deficits. The deficits are largely offset by foreign income earnings, including capital inflows, remittances from the Lebanese diaspora as well as the tourism, banking and insurance sectors.

EU-Lebanon "trade in goods" statistics

Trade in goods 2011-2013, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2011 0.4 5.3 4.9
2012 0.4 6.7 6.4
2013 0.3 6.7 6.4

More statistics on Lebanon

EU and Lebanon

The EU-Lebanon Association agreement progressively liberalises trade in goods between the EU and Lebanon. Its implementation is foreseen between 2008 and 2014 and Lebanese industrial as well as most agricultural products benefit from free access to the EU market, with a view to creating a bilateral Free Trade Area

In November 2010, the EU and Lebanon signed a protocol establishing a dispute settlement mechanism applicable to disputes under the trade provisions of the Association Agreement.

Lebanon already has a Free Trade Agreement with the EU and accordingly ceased to benefit from preferential access to the EU market under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) scheme from January 2014 (for more details on the EU's new GSP scheme, see here )

Lebanon in Euromed

Lebanon is one of the partners of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Euromed)that promotes economic integration and democratic reform across 16 neighbours to the EU's south in North Africa and the Middle East. One important part of this work is to achieve mutually satisfactory trading terms for the Euromed region's partners.

The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership is an essential component in the pursuit of greater economic integration in the Mediterranean region. Within the European Neighbourhood Policy, the EU offers its neighbours a privileged relationship, building upon a mutual commitment to common values (democracy and human rights, rule of law, good governance, market economy principles and sustainable development). The European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument is designed to target sustainable development and approximation to EU policies and standards, supporting the agreed priorities in the European neighbourhood Policy Action Plans and the EU co-operation programme for Lebanon 2007-2013

Lebanon has not yet signed the Regional Convention on pan-Euro-Mediterranean preferential rules of origin but participates in the revision of the existing rules. When applied, this will replace the current network of bilateral protocols, facilitate the revision of existing rules of origin, and thus enhance regional trade and economic integration. The system – which makes it simpler to import products manufactured in more than one country throughout the Mediterranean basin – will generate new opportunities for economic operators and be an important spur for further regional economic integration.

More information on the Euro-Mediterranean partnership

Trading with Lebanon