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Beirut meet urges U.S. role in energy sector

Hale urges Lebanese authorities to remove obstacles to investment in Lebanon.

BEIRUT: American Lebanese Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Chairman Salim Zeenni Monday urged the United States to get involved in the oil and gas sector in Lebanon.

Zeenni made his remarks during a lunch organized by the AmCham at Phoenicia Intercontinental Hotel to honor U.S. Ambassador David Hale.

“We look forward to U.S. involvement in this huge initiative to make sure the sector will bring the benefits it promises to Lebanon’s people,” Zeenni said.

“The oil and gas sector is a hot topic at the moment and needs immediate attention ... American private sector expertise is already at work and getting involved in these ‘underwater resources’ everyone wants a piece of.”

Zeenni said the Lebanese private sector was seeking close cooperation and support from the United States.

“The United States is Lebanon’s main trading partner and we are expecting an ever stronger partnership with you being here, adding strength to Lebanon’s private sector,” he said.

Zeenni added that Lebanon was also ready to increase its exports to the U.S.

Hale urged Lebanese authorities to remove obstacles to investment in Lebanon. “These include current policies on intellectual property rights, the high costs of production and inadequate infrastructure,” he said.

Hale also highlighted the need for stability to create a better investment climate and economy in the country as he expressed willingness to help tear down obstacles to trade and investment between the U.S. and Lebanon.

“Effective, persistent lobbying by AmCham can bring results, and I would be happy to join with you in a strategy to work with your leaders to tear down obstacles to trade and investment,” he said.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on November 19, 2013, on page 5.

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