January 23, 2017

Invest in Lebanon–IDAL January Newsletter


Starting 2017, and with the formation of a new government Lebanon again has the golden opportunity to re-direct foreign investments to Lebanon.
                                                       January 2017
Dear Readers

At the dawn of the new Presidency and subsequent Cabinet, great hopes are awaiting the country’s economy. The Prime Minister’s Cabinet Inauguration speech on economic growth will be IDAL’s blueprint for the coming year, emphasizing on knowledge economy and productive sectors.
As a key government player in economic development and as the country’s national investment promotion agency, IDAL’s plan for 2017 will mainly focus on increasing employment opportunities in the outskirts of the capital,with an increasing focus on the areas with the highest incidence of overall unemployment and youth unemployment.
For that end, IDAL will partner with public and private sector stakeholders as well as international organizations to identify concrete investment opportunities in selected regions and work on mobilizing financing to ensure implementation of these opportunities. Special focus will be placed on identifying projects or clusters of projects in the Agro Food and Industrial sectors that use new technologies to enhance productivity and competitiveness.On that note, I encourage you to read this month’s analysis on the printing industry in Lebanon and a brief on the country’s competitive tax system along with a summary of the Lebanese Saudi business relations over the years.
For the Lebanese living in Africa, we cannot wait to meet you at the LDE’s Conference in Johannesburg this February.
We hope you enjoy reading this issue, please contact us for your feedback.

Best wishes,

Nabil Itani
Chairman- General Manager

Lebanon’s Tax System

Lebanon has one of the most competitive corporate income tax rates regionally and internationally, equal to 15%, making Lebanon’s business environment one of the most attractive and competitive for foreign and national companies.

Lebanon ranked 30th in 2012 in the “Paying Taxes” category, among 183 economies, with only 19 days per year for tax payments, versus 21 days on average in the MENA region. The Ministry of Finance has played an important role in that matter, improving processes for tax payments, introducing e-declaration and e-payment services and establishing a one-stop-shop for tax payments at Lebanese customs.
Owing to the industry’s historical position as the printing hub in the region, local printing presses have organically grown expertise and regional presence over time and remain well positioned in the region with branch offices in the GCC, West and North Africa. Moreover, new technologies have been adopted to include hi-tech and security printing such as manufacturing of scratch cards, smart cards, and utility cards for telecom operators, financial institutions, and service companies.
In 2015, there were around 338 companies with more than 3,700 workers in the printing industry, accounting for 5.2% of the total industrial labor force.
Export partners in this particular industry are Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Libya, UAE, Morocco and Jordan. Together, they account for more than 50% of total exports. New markets are being formed nonetheless in West Africa and Europe with key players already exporting to these destinations, including France and Indonesia.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the various Gulf countries who contribute greatly to FDI in Lebanon, with investments distributed across various sectors and industries especially in the Tourism sector.

IDAL facilitated a number of Saudi Tourism investments in Lebanon and provided fiscal incentives that went up to 100% exemption on corporate tax. We mention the Four Seasons, Grand Hyatt Hotel, Summerland Kempinski Hotel and Resort, and the Mandarin Oriental. Those projects amount to around USD 588 Million.

IDAL will be in South Africa for the Lebanese Diaspora Energy Conference from 2-3 February. We will lead a plenary session on “Bringing the investments of the Diaspora to Lebanon”.
In the news
Reaching out to the Diaspora in Latin America

IDAL lead a session at the Lebanese Diaspora Energy Conference in Sao Paulo on “Exploring Opportunities through the Lebanese Diaspora: Investment in Lebanon/Triangular trade”. The session started with a keynote speech from Chairman Itani and was moderated by renowned journalist of Lebanese origins Mr. Guga Chacra.

IDAL was also present at the event through a contact point booth where investors interested to know more about doing business in Lebanon were able to be equipped with the relevant information for an informed decision.
On the margins of the conference, IDAL’s delegation headed by Mr. Itani met with several public figures of Lebanese origins such as the Mayor of Sao Paulo Mr. Fernando Haddad, the President of the FIESP Mr. Paulo Skaff, and others. A detailed report of those visits will be covered in a special feature.
Re-confirming the historical ties with KSA

Chairman of IDAL Mr. Nabil Itani met with the Saudi Chargé d’affaires Mr. Walid Bukhari. Discussions tackled the enhancement of ways of cooperation, in the light of the historical ties between the two countries. Saudi Arabia is known to be the first trade partner to Lebanon.

Mr. Itani honoured by the Chamber of 
Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture in Tripoli

The Chairman of the CCIAT, Mr. Toufic Daboussy honored the Chairman of IDAL, Mr.. Nabil Itani, during an honoring ceremony held at the chamber’s headquarters in Tripoli, in the presence of board members of the two entities, heads of economic organizations in the North and journalists. Daboussy praised Itani’s achievements, applauding the cooperation between IDAL and the Chamber. Itani said that this honoring is a tribute to IDAL for the efforts exerted to carry on its tasks, in terms of promoting Lebanon as a viable investment destination in the region, and supporting the productive sectors through the promotion of their exports.

Workshop on Tracking System in the Packaging Houses

IDAL, in collaboration with the Bureau Veritas Lebanon, organized a workshop on “Tracking System in the Packaging Houses”, in the presence of agricultural and industrial heads and representatives as well as a crowd of exporters. IDAL`s Chairman Mr. Nabil Itani declared that this program had direct and indirect positive results in terms of improving the quality of packaging, creating a balance between supply and demand in the markets and penetrating new markets. He stressed out that the Lebanese exported products which cannot compete on quantity, must adopt international standards and norms to compete on quality.

IDAL | Investment Development Authority of Lebanon | +961 (0) 1 983306 | invest@idal.com.lb | investinlebanon.gov.lb

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