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Beirut merchants: Protecting industry is incompatible with free economy


The ban of Turkish imports continues to steer both support and opposition, according to An Nahar newspaper. While the ministries of economy and industry backed the decision which aims to protect Lebanese industries, the Beirut Merchants Association and the head of the Syndicate of Importers of Foodstuff and Consumer Products refused it as it undermines the principle of free economy. Economic expert, Jassem Ajaqa, for his part, said Turkey could retaliate to the decision by disallowing the entry of made in Lebanon goods into its territory. Meanwhile, a report released in March 2018 by the Industrial Information Department at the industry ministry, indicated a growth of 5.4% in industrial exports compared to the same period of last year. The total value of imports of industrial equipment during the first three months of 2018 rose 36.9% compared to 2017. The food and tobacco exports ranked first, followed by ordinary metals and products, electric machinery and appliances and finally the chemical products, according to the report. On the hitches in the industry, the head of the Lebanese Forces LF Party, Samir Geagea, during a meeting with an LIA delegation last week, pressed for the ratification of the draft bills in support of the sector. (An Nahar, Al Diyar, Al Akhbar, June 15, 19, 21, 2018)

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