Lebanon to Sign Free Trade Pact with Iraq
Lebanon will sign a free trade agreement with Iraq in July, joining the ranks of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Syria, said the chief of the Lebanese industrial association on Wednesday.
Jacques Sarraf was quoted as saying “the signing...would have happened much sooner, but was delayed for technical reasons,” according to the Gulf Daily News.
He said the agreement was to have been signed at the Arab summit in Amman in late March, following the March 13 reopening of Iraq’s embassy in Beirut after a seven-year closure.
Sarraf, who said he learned of the plans from Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri’s inner circle, said the agreement would be signed in Beirut by Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan and Lebanese government officials.
During parliamentary debates last month on Lebanon’s 2001 budget, several MPs called for Lebanon to bolster its ties with Iraq.
Former Lebanese prime minister Omar Karame predicted that trade with Baghdad would bring Lebanon more than $1.5 billion in revenue within a year, said the paper.
Before Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war, 20 percent of the country’s industrial products were exported to Iraq, Sarraf said – Albawaba.com