"Lebanese officials are confident the country will be granted admission to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) by the end of next year, though there is still much to do before Lebanon meets all of the requirements for membership.
As the government has amended a number of agricultural laws and regulations that the WTO viewed as contradictory to its charter, and has cancelled a programme from the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon to assist financing Lebanese farm exports, primary producers feel threatened by the WTO bid.
Antoine Howayek, president of the Association of Lebanese Farmers, cited the country's 2006 association agreement with the EU in arguing that Lebanon's agriculture sector would not benefit from open markets such as WTO membership.
"This is clearly reflected by the association agreement on trade signed between the EU and Lebanon, which was supposed to provide the latter with the opportunity to benefit from the potential EU market for its exports, but did not," Howayek told the local media on November 7.
Since the agreement with the EU came into force in April 2006, Lebanon's agricultural exports to the EU have dropped, with the European bloc accounting for just 12% of sales last year, well down on the 20.6% in the year before the trade deal. Supporters of the WTO bid say this decline has more to do with Lebanese farm goods not meeting stringent EU standards than a weakening of competitive power caused by the association agreement. "
Let it be known: no one should have faith in the Opposition's social and economic agendas in Lebanon. At least the Loyalists are consistent with themselves: they serve Kapital. But what, or who does the Opposition serve? Kapital too?! I am in full support of the Resistance, but resistance cannot be limited to combat preparation by a few heros defending the rest of the nation. Resistance to poverty and inequality and occupation and oppression starts with the implementation of unequivocal social and economic agendas.