Exporting to Lebanon

The Lebanese market has a global outlook that champions business. UK companies can benefit from its liberal economic system and growing UK trade links.

Liberal economic system

Lebanon has a liberal economic system with a dynamic private sector, a profitable banking sector and an attractive corporate tax rate of 17%.

UK trade links

The economic relationship between the UK and Lebanon is growing stronger. Lebanon is an important trading partner for the UK and offers a stepping stone to trade with other countries in the Middle East.

Ease of doing business

143rd

out of 190 countries (World Bank, 2019)

Currency

Lebanese pound

Business languages

Arabic, French

You may need a translator

GDP per capita

$9,250

UK is $42,558 (IMF, 2018)

Economic growth

0.3%

(IMF, 2018)

Time zone

GMT +2

Opportunities for exporters

There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in the Lebanon have identified particular opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors.

Doing business in Lebanon

Preparing to export

VAT

If you’re registered for VAT in the UK, it may be possible to zero-rate the goods you export to Austria, provided certain conditions are met.

The standard VAT rate in Lebanon increased from 10% to 11% effective 1 January 2018. Unless specifically exempt, VAT is levied on all commercial transactions undertaken by business entities.

Corporate tax

The corporate tax rate is 17%.

Customs

You’ll find information about customs law, procedures and regulations on the Lebanese Customs website.

Regulations and standards

LIBNOR , Lebanon’s standards institution, has responsibility for standards, regulations and granting use of the Lebanese Conformity Mark (NL Mark).

National standards cover all products in the following sectors:

  • agro-food
  • chemicals
  • construction
  • mechanical, electrotechnical and electromechanical

Operating in Lebanon

Intellectual property

As a first step, we advise you to speak to an intellectual property lawyer if you think you need patent protection when exporting.

Lebanon has signed the Berne Convention, the main international copyright convention.

Though Lebanese copyright law provides protection for artistic, dramatic, musical, photographic and cinematographic works, infringements are common.

Payment terms

The main methods of payment in Lebanon are irrevocable ‘letters of credit’ and cash in advance.

Open account payment terms are increasingly popular in established business relationships.

However, you should be careful about extending credit terms until you’ve established the reliability of the organisation you’re doing business with.

Getting started in the market

UK companies are advised to appoint a local agent or distributor, rather than attempt to sell direct. One agent is usually able to cover the whole market.

Challenges

Although the business climate in Lebanon continues to improve, obstacles remain. UK businesses may face challenges around bureaucracy, corruption and poor infrastructure.

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.