BEIRUT: Lebanon’s trade deficit in the first half of 2012 climbed 22.5 percent to reach $8.71 billion compared to $7.11 billion in the same period of 2011 and $6.47 billion in 2010. The Customs Department said that imports up to June of this year surged 18 percent to reach $10.88 billion compared to $9.23 billion in the same period of 2011. In return, Lebanon’s exports rose 3 percent in the first six months to reach $2.17 billion compared to $2.12 billion in the same period of last year. Lebanon imports most of its consumption needs from Europe despite efforts by industrialists and farmers to boost exports to some countries. Economists say that the volatile security situation in neighboring Syria has exacerbated attempts by Lebanese manufacturers to transport their goods to other Arab states via land.