Beirut Chamber sees stable exports

The Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture in Beirut and Mount Lebanon reported a small growth in ‘real exports’ in the first six months of the year compared to 2016. The tonnage of exports however shot up 36 percent.

Real exports exclude mineral products, gold, pearls and precious and semi-precious stones.

In terms of value, the Chamber issued certificates of origin for exports worth $1.4 billion, up four percent from the first six months of last year.

The price of raw materials had fallen in the past year because of the drop in international oil prices. This made local merchandise less expensive, but more competitive.

Base metals represent the biggest share, 38 percent, of total exports. Food industry exports grew 53 percent to $176 million. Electrical machinery and equipment came in third with $165 million. The Chamber reported the export of chemical and agricultural exports worth $200 million, combined.

In terms of tonnage, exporters sent 3.4 million tons worth of merchandise abroad, up 36 percent compared to last year. The value of goods per ton was $412, rising by 27 percent. Chemical products and electrical machinery saw the highest jump in exports. While the exports of electrical machinery doubled, that of chemical products more than tripled to reach 340,000 tons.

Wissam Hosari, Manager of ATA and TIR Carnets at the Chamber, said: “The issuance of TIR cards increased three fold since the Syrian Government resorted to local ports as a transit hub.” TIR carnets are an international customs document that allows expediting the inter-border transport of merchandise over land. ATA carnets are a document for the temporary admission of certain products.

Hosari said: “Exports are mostly heading towards Arab countries, mainly Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Iraq.”