Trade and Investment
Lebanon is a country of free trade. There are certain goods, however, such as computer hardware and software, and firearms and munitions that require an import license. Lebanon adheres to the Arab League boycott of Israel and therefore, the import of goods from Israel is officially prohibited, although this ban is not fully enforced. Lebanon levies most customs duties on an ad valorem basis, the average being 25 percent calculated on the CIF value of the goods converted to local currency by reference to the official dollar rate. Special low rates apply to certain imports from member countries of the Arab League, and many agricultural products are exempt from customs duties. Importation of a few specified commodities requires an import license that must be obtained prior to shipment. Free zones offering facilities for re-packaging and processing merchandise, assembling and manufacturing are located in the Beirut Port and the Tripoli Port. To reside and work in Lebanon, a foreigner is required to have a work permit issued by the Ministry of Social Affairs and a residence permit issued by the Ministry of Interior. In addition, foreign nationals that wish to carry on business in Lebanon must have a commercial register. Broadly speaking, work permits are granted to persons having skills not readily found in Lebanon and to management personnel (usually up to three people on the management staff of foreign firms).