Thursday, December 13, 2007


Also in the economics page of Al-Akhbar, Antoine Howayek responds to the article on banana cultivation in Lebanon. He says that it is a great opportunity and gives figures for investments vs returns and justifies the expansion of banana farming. He also says that the producers greatly benefit from the export to Syria, which imposes heavy tariffs on banana imported from all countries but Lebanon. This is because Syria implements GAFTA, the Arab Free Trade Agreement which imposes free trade between Arab countries. I don't get it Antoine, a few months ago, you were complaining very loudly about GAFTA and the policy of open borders with Syria because it ate up the Lebanese farmer. Now you are happy with free trade because it benefits the Lebanese farmers who have a climatic comparative advantage. You can't have it both ways Antoine. And remember: we export more food to Syria than we import from it, black market or not.

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