LEBANON

Logistic and forwarding services in Lebanon

Lebanon

Capital City
Beirut

Population
4’460’000 P.

National languages
Arabic

Currency
Lebanese Pounds (LBP)

Gross national product (GNP)
USD 51.16 Mia.

GNP per person
USD 11’236

Financial exports to Switzerland
CHF 650,04 Mio.

Financial imports from Switzerland
CHF 219,25 Mio.

Bilateral relations Switzerland–Lebanon

Lebanon is an important partner for Switzerland in the Middle East. The two countries have longstanding bilateral relations and they have many things in common: democracy, cultural diversity within a small geographical area, mountains, scarce raw materials and openness to foreign trade.

Economic cooperation

In the context of the signature of an agreement between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and Lebanon, Switzerland and Lebanon have launched a bilateral programme of economic cooperation with the aim of strengthening economic standards in Lebanon in order to improve the quality of Lebanese export products.

Switzerland is Lebanon’s seventh largest trading partner, and Lebanon is Switzerland’s fifth largest trading partner in the Middle East. Switzerland mainly exports precious stones and metals, jewellery and pharmaceutical products to Lebanon.  It largely imports precious stones and metals and jewellery from Lebanon.

 

Business language

Arabic, French, English.

Dimensions and weights

Metric system.

Currency

National currency Lebanese pound (L £) = 100 Piaster (P.L.).

ISO code: LBP

Customs tariff

Harmonised system.

Import control

Restrictive measure; weapons embargo, technical support linked to military activities, financial sanctions.
Most goods can be imported without an import licence but licences in advance (licence préalable) are required for goods, the import of which is controlled to protect domestic agricultural and industrial production.
The list of goods for which a licence in advance is required changes constantly. The import licence is generally valid for 6 year. Where necessary an extension by a further 6 months is possible. There is a ban on the import of goods from Israel and diesel cars.
Various goods are subject to a verification of conformity. Responsibility for this lies with Bivac International.
The Banque du Liban provides importers with foreign currencies on the basis of the licences for government imports. Foreign currencies must be obtained on the free market for private imports. Lebanon has very detailed provisions in commercial agent law.
State export guarantees are only possible for short-term transactions with no restrictions on the amount up to a credit term of 360 days.
Standard VAT rate: 10%.

Terms of payment and tenders

Irrevocable letter of credit confirmed by a bank.

Designations of origin

Goods with Lebanese names, including on their packaging, labels, postal wrappers etc. must have the addition “Importé de …” in indestructible, clearly visible letters.
Indication of the country of origin on the commercial invoice.

Marking/labelling

Certain goods such as pharmaceutical preparations and certain agricultural products including food conserves also require a special type of labelling and marking which can be established with the importer in Lebanon.

Packaging

No requirement for special box marking. Seaworthy packaging, in other words very solid and resistant. Hay and straw not recommended.
ISPM no. 15 applicable.

Product samples

Samples with no retail value are permitted duty free.
Otherwise the standard security payments apply for temporary import. Advertising printing and advertising materials are subject to customs duties. The shipment of samples which are subject to duty as “product samples” is not permissible.

Shipping and accompanying documents

Boycott declarations are prohibited. This means that CICs (chambers of industry and commerce) are no longer permitted to certify commercial papers if discriminatory formulations are selected. Escaping the provisions through notaries, regional courts or others administration offices is also excluded. Positive formulations therefore have to be selected

According to a regulation by the Lebanese Ministry of Public Buildings and Transport – General Direction of Transport – ships may only arrive in legal ports in which the port, customs and security authorities are represented. The following are currently the only legal ports: Beirut, Jounieh, Saida (Sidon), Tripoli.

Standard and:

a) 3 commercial invoices with all standard information with a predefined company declaration in French/English. The declaration must state: “Nous certifions que la présente facture est authentique et qu’elle est la seule émise par nous pour les marchandises qui y sont énoncées, qu’elle mentionne leur valeur exacte sans déduction d’aucun acompte et que leur origine est exclusivement … (where applicable list further countries)”. In English. “We hereby certify that the present invoice is authentic, the only one issued by us representing the goods listed here in without any deduction in their true value as afore mentioned and that their origin is exclusively: …(where applicable list further countries)”.

b) Certificates of origin (1 copy) only required for agricultural products, cattle and beef products. As the origin, indicate “Swiss” in the case of Swiss goods, or “European Union” for goods originating from UE. If only “European Union” is used, also give a declaration on the reverse of the certificate of origin, see a).

c) Manufacturer’s declaration: where requested by the importer: an explanation must be given, taking the invoice into account, of who manufactured the goods. Consult the importer for instructions on whether the declaration is to be certified by the competent Chamber of Commerce (1 copy remains with the Chamber) or the signature has to be certified by a notary.

d) As evidence of the preferential origin: movement certificate EUR. 1 for shipments where the products come under the free trade agreement with the EU. EUR 1 for shipments up to a value of EUR 6.000. The following declaration must be made in this case: “The exporter of the goods to which this commercial document refers declares that these goods, unless otherwise specified, are preferential goods”. The movement certificate EUR. 1 is required for shipments with a value of more than EUR 6.000. The exporter fills in the form, the customs office issues it. “Authorised exporters” can use the above mentioned declaration of origin on commercial documents including for shipments over a value of EUR 6.000 after they have been approved by the competent central customs office.

e) EUR-MED

f) Postal packages: 10 kg, 1 international dispatch note, 2 customs declaration in French/English, 3 commercial invoices

g) Bills of lading uncertified.

Transport declarations.

The following transport declarations are compatible with Section 4a AWV (further suggested texts are available from the Chambers of Industry and Commerce): “The undersigned does hereby declare on behalf of the owner, agent or master of the above named vessel/ airplane that said vessel/airplane is not registered in Israel of owned by nationals or residents of Israel and will not call at or pass through any Israeli port en route to … (e.g. Lebanon)”. We also make reference to the fact that transport declarations of this type may only be made for insurance reasons or to prevent the goods being seized en route via air or sea.

h) Packing lists: 3 copies of packing lists should be included with shipments clearly listing each individual package with the trademark, number, gross and net weight, external dimensions and content.

i) If goods from Swiss are transported to Lebanon via ports in third countries, the precise transport route must be indicated on the commercial invoice. A copy of the consignment note showing the transport from the factory to the port must also be attached to the documents. The consignment note and the bills of lading must include the exact address of the Lebanese importer. If shipment or loading is not directly from Swiss, a “Way Bill” is required (ask the freight forwarder or the Chamber of Industry and Commerce).