Exporting guide to Lebanon

Overview

Despite political and economic challenges, Lebanese businesses are adept at staying afloat throughout any turmoil. The private sector in Lebanon has always found a way to survive, even with little government support and a lack of some basic infrastructure.

UK-Lebanon association agreement

UK-Lebanon Association Agreement entered into force on 1st January 2021. The agreement replicates the EU-Association Agreement and provide a framework for optimising the UK-Lebanon bilateral relationship.

UK trade links

Lebanon is an important trading partner for the UK. Its strategic geographical location makes it an excellent gateway to the Middle East for exporters new to the region. 

Lebanon cityscape

Lebanon: at a glance

Economic growth

-7.2%

Actual figure (IMF, 2019)
The UK is 1.7% (IMF, 2019, actual figure)

GDP per capita

$7,471

Actual figure (IMF, 2019)
The UK is $43,121 (IMF, 2019, actual figure)

Currency

Lebanese pound

Business languages

Arabic, French

You may need a translator

Time zone

GMT +2

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Check for trade barriers

Trade barriers, such as tariffs or taxes, can raise costs, cause delays, or even stop you from exporting. Check for any issues that may impact your business when exporting.

See current trade barriers

See resolved trade barriers

Check duties and customs

Find information on how to export goods from the UK. View the duties, rules, restrictions, and the documents you need for your products.

See current duties and customs procedures

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 Lebanon, 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

Trade barriers

Check for any reported barriers to trading with Lebanon.

Report any trade barriers that are affecting your business so we can help fix them.

Operating in Lebanon

Intellectual property

Intellectual property (IP) rights are territorial. Rights granted in the UK do not provide protection elsewhere. You should consider getting IP protection abroad if you want to trade overseas or sell to overseas customers via the internet.

The Intellectual Property Office’s International IP Service provides practical information to help you protect, manage and enforce your IP abroad. Further support can be accessed through the service’s network of IP attachés. Based in key UK export markets, they provide guidance to British businesses on local IP matters.

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.