30 May 2019
LEBANON: Government Approves 2% Tax on Imports and 10% on ‘Dumped’ Products
Imports to Lebanon will now be subjected to 2% tax, excluding pharmaceuticals, electric cars, and raw materials for industrial and agricultural products, while higher rate of 10% will apply to 20 products – including types of food, clothing and industrial components – deemed as being ‘dumped’ onto the Lebanese market.
The move comes following a meeting of the Lebanese Cabinet during final discussions on the country’s upcoming budget on 22 May, according to media reports. Mansour Bteish, the Lebanese Minister of Economy and Trade, said: “Upon the budget’s final approval, the tax will be enshrined in law, and become effective on publication in the Official Gazette.”
The Cabinet also agreed to impose a 10% tax on 20 imported products that are considered ‘dumped’ – being imported in large quantities at prices lower than those produced locally. These include flour, dairy products, detergents, furniture, leather shoes, bulgur, electrical machinery, aluminium profiles, clothes, wafers and biscuits, vehicle bodywork, metal pipes, confectionary and gums, marble and granite tiles, among others. The 10% tax will be effective for five years, and the 2% import tax will remain in force until 2022.
The decision to raise taxes is intended to help reduce the trade imbalance, and encourage local production. Currently, locally manufactured products are facing strong competition from goods imported from China and Turkey. In 2018, imports from China accounted for US$2 billion, while exports to China were only about US$20 million. Lebanon’s Industry Minister, Wael Abu Faour, said: "This will protect the Lebanese manufacturing sector, contribute to lowering trade deficit and revive a large number of industries."