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Lebanon welcomes Syrian decision to reduce transit fees

11-4-2019

In response to the decision by Syrian prime minister, Imad Khamis, to cut down transit tariffs on Lebanese trucks entering Syrian territory (https://bit.ly/2DaoLE3), the President of the Lebanese Industrialists Association, LIA, Fadi Gemayel, said it is an important step for Lebanese land export activity. LIA welcomes this reduction which facilitates the entry of industrial goods via Syria and speeds up their arrival to desired destinations compared to the time and cost of maritime shipping, Gemayel told Lebanon Files. Gemayel voiced hope that the initiative will be implemented soon and be followed by similar actions by Arab and GCC states. Likewise, the chief of the Bekaa Farmers Association, Ibrahim Tarshishi, said he hopes things will return to the time before the closure of Nassib Crossing in 2015. Then, the transit tariff barely exceeded USD 180 on the truck, but in October 2018 when the crossing was reopened, fees rocketed to USD 800, causing a drastic decline in land export, Tarshishi added. The reduction of transit tariffs on Lebanese trucks, he explained, could reduce the bill on producers, exporters and farmers. It can also increase the size of exported products to Arab markets, notably Syrian markets, given that Syria comes second after Saudi Arabia in the import of made-in-Lebanon agricultural goods. For his part, the vice president of the General Labor Confederation, Hassan Faqih, said the visit to Syria of agriculture minister Hassan Lakiss, has completely broken the unjustified boycott which was detrimental to Lebanon’s interests and the interest of sister nations in general. The Syrian decision is another proof that the fastest way to resolve our industrial and agricultural crises is through direct visits and relations between the two countries at various levels. (Al Diyar, April 11, 2019)

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