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Import regulations and customs duties  - Distribution - Transportation of goods - Standards - Patents and brands

Import regulations and customs duties

Lebanon's economy is open. Rafic Hariri's government has promulgated new laws and has reduced the tariff rates to promote the development of the country. The last Customs Law implemented on the 23 of April 2001 aims at simplifying the procedures. The Lebanese customs code which contains some dispositions in conformity with the World Trade Organisation and with the World Customs Organisation requirements has been implemented in April 2001.
Lebanon applied for membership to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and was granted observer status on the 14 of April 1999.
Lebanon is continuing its negotiations with the European Union for the conclusion of an Association Agreement in the context of the Mediterranean region by the year 2014.


Customs duties
The customs system is the harmonised system of Brussels. Customs duties vary from 0% to 70%. Import surcharges can be levied on certain products such as textile, alcohol drinks, motorised vehicles,etc. Customs duties are levied by the Lebanese customs. At the beginning of 2001, the Lebanese government reduced customs duties from an average 6% on 5,400 items out of a total of 5,700 items. There are some non-tariff duties because some regulations are not always clearly defined. S

The value added tax (VAT) which single rate is 10%, was implemented the 1st of January 2002. VAT concerns imports by any individual submitted or not to the VAT, goods deliveries, services executed by an individual submitted to the VAT inside the country. Standards are defined by the Lebanese standardisation institute Libnor.




The Business to Business (B to B) market
The main business actor on the Lebanese market is the importer who acts as an agent and who benefits from a network of resellers. He is in charge of the marketing and the conclusion of sales contracts. Wholesale trading is carried out by the main Lebanese importers. It is strongly advised to be introduced on the Lebanese market by a local agent. The business representation contract is defined by the Law 34 dated 5 August 1967.


Transportation of goods

By road
The road network is 6,600 km long. The main road axis are Beyrouth - Tripoli, Beyrouth - Damas (Syria) and Beyrouth - Tyr. Numerous public works have been achieved to improve the quality of the road network. Highways have been built around Beyrouth in order to have better access to the capital. Several road signs, supervision traffic cams and road lighting are installed to facilitate the traffic.

By rail
The construction of rail line between the port of Tripoli and Abboudie (frontier with Syria) has begun. This rail line will open in 2005. A rehabilitation project between Rayack and the East frontier has been launched.

By sea
There are a dozen of ports in Lebanon. The main ports are Beyrouth, receiving most of the freight, and Tripoli, specialised in shipping with other Arabian countries.

By air
The Lebanese air company is the Middle East Airlines, company which is to be privatised. Beyrouth is served by Middle East Airlines, Air France, Al Italia, Lufthansa, KLM et Malev.


Standards are defined by the Lebanese standardisation institute Libnor. This institute is a member of the international standards organisation ISO.

Patents and brands

Lebanon is a member of a great number of international conventions (Bern convention, international convention of Paris...). These conventions aim at protecting inventions, models and industrial drawings and designs, trademarks, trade and business logos.

Texts currently applying to patents/brands

  Text Date entered into law Period of validity Comment
Patent Patent Law 1988 20 years :


Last modified in 2006 - ongoing update
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