Monday, May 7, 2007

Free trade in the Shiite crescent

"Iranian economic attache to Lebanon and Lebanese head of Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture in Beirut on Saturday explored the avenues to expand trade cooperation. Mehdi Bornaie told IRNA that he took part in the session at the invitation of Qazi Qaritem, Head of Lebanon Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture. The two sides studied ways to dispatch trade and commercial delegations and pave the way for heads of chambers of commerce to explore grounds for cooperation.

The current volume of trade between Iran and Lebanon stands at about dlrs 100 million, including dlrs 90 million of Iran-made commodities such as construction stones, machinery, health and construction materials, autos, carpets, and pistachio. Lebanon also exported half-built goods or reexported European-made commodities worth dlrs 10 million. Lebanese merchants have also decisive role in reexporting Iranian-made goods to African countries."

I dont know who Qazi Qaritem is, must be the farsi pronunciation. But the article begs the question: are we creating the alternative to WTO? or to bilateral FTAs? Note the imbalance in the trading. Note also what Lebanon exports to Iran: European goods. And what it imports: stuff to be reexported to Africa. Who makes the money in this triangle? the big traders which also doubles up as the ruling class.

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