Lebanon asking Iraq and Egypt to slash transit fees as Syrian conflict continues to hurt trade
Lebanon has filed an official request to reduce transit transport fees with Iraq and Egypt, the National News Agency reported Monday, in a bid to cut export costs after major land export routes were brought to a halt by the ongoing violence in neighboring Syria.
The request was submitted by the Tripoli Chamber of Commerce to Iraqi Ambassador Omar Barzanji and Egyptian Commercial Attaché Saad Cheikh in a meeting, the agency, quoting a statement from the Chamber, said.
“It is important that we work together with the Agriculture Ministry to service agricultural exporters and help them meet their demands,” head of the Chamber Tawfik Daboussi said.
He added that efforts by the Egyptian and Iraqi embassies had readied Lebanon and the two countries to reach agreements on alleviating fees and developing other areas of cooperation.
“The doors of the embassy are wide open to business plans and projects by Lebanese in all sectors,” the Iraqi ambassador said, adding that the embassy is working to facilitate visas for Lebanese, particularly businessmen and investors.
Recently roll-on-roll-off trucks have started to ship Lebanese export trucks from Tripoli to destinations in Egypt and Jordan after the situation on the roads connecting Lebanon through Syria became too dangerous.
Exporters, however, have complained that high shipping costs in addition to transit fees are narrowing their margins. They have called on the government to subsidize shipment costs.