Triangle Director: Gulf Essential to Lebanese Exports

November 4, 2021

Increasing diplomatic tensions between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon are dealing further blows to Lebanon’s already crippled economy. The Gulf is the only export market and Lebanon has no capacity to pivot exports to the EU, Asia or North Africa, says Triangle Director of Policy, Sami Halabi in the Middle East Eye.

Saudi Arabia’s recent decision to ban imports from Lebanon is the latest crushing blow to Beirut’s already battered economy, set to lose out on $250m in revenues if ties are not mended over a diplomatic spat that broke out last week.

The move is in retaliation against Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi’s ​​​​remarks calling the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen “absurd”, which Riyadh described as “insulting”.

The kingdom’s decision to punish Lebanon both diplomatically and financially marks the fourth hit to the Lebanese economy in the past two years, already reeling from a financial crisis that has led the Lebanese lira to depreciate by more than 90 percent, the Beirut port blast that devastated the capital in August 2020, and the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Lebanese fruit and vegetable exports have been one of the primary targets for Gulf trade bans (AFP)
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