The U.S. Department of Commerce said Lebanon is the 68th largest market for U.S. exports, adding that the U.S. exported $1.1 billion worth of goods to Lebanon, representing an 81 percent increase year-on-year.
The top 5 U.S. exports to Lebanon in 2008 were vehicles, mineral fuel and oil, machinery, agricultural commodities, and medical equipment. It noted that major competitors of U.S. companies in Lebanon include French, Italian, German, British, Korean, and Chinese firms. The Guide said leading Lebanese sectors for U.S. exports and investment include the automobile sector, air conditioning & refrigeration equipment, drugs & pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, apparel, education services, and agriculture.
The US Department of Commerce expected the U.S. share of the local auto market to reach 17 percent in 2008, adding that demand for U.S. automotive products such as brakes, clutches, engine lubricants, and safety accessories are increasing because of their quality advantage over foreign competitors. Also, U.S. air conditioning and refrigeration exports to Lebanon reached $111m in first 8 months of last year, with a projected market share of 10 percent in 2008. Further, U.S. pharmaceuticals accounted for about 6 percent of total pharmaceutical drugs imports in the first 8 months of 2008. It said Lebanon is the leading importer of pharmaceuticals in the Levant, as 95 percent of the $545m market consists of imported medicine. Also, U.S. exports of medical equipment reached $34m in the first 8 months of 2008, and U.S. market share was expected to reach 27 percent in 2008. It noted that Lebanon is an ideal location for establishing a regional office to cover the Levant, including Iraq.
U.S. apparel exports to Lebanon reached around $7 million; constituting around 3 percent of total apparel imports to Lebanon, while US agricultural exports totaled $148m, equivalent to 8.7 percent of agricultural imports. Major U.S. agricultural exports to Lebanon include dairy products, cereals, beverages and spirits and tobacco. Finally, it noted that Lebanon has one of the best educational systems in the Middle East with 125,000 students enrolled in universities throughout Lebanon and over 2,100 Lebanese students studying in the U.S.
In parallel, the US Department of Commerce considered the Information & Communication Technology (ICT), pharmaceuticals and insurance sectors as offering the best prospects. It said Lebanon has the fundamental building blocks needed to become a regional center for technology that include a highly-educated and multilingual workforce, a strong private sector, world-class advertising firms, and multi-lingual media content providers and web portals. Additionally, Lebanon is the leading importer of pharmaceutical drugs in the Levant region and has over 50 pharmaceutical importing firms. - Lebanon This Week