BEIRUT: Lebanon’s industrial exports in the first 11 months of 2013 rose by 8.1 percent to $2.642 billion from $2.444 billion in the same period of 2012, the Industry Ministry said Tuesday.
If fuel oil is excluded, total industrial exports in the reporting period could reach $2.351 million.
The ministry noted that the 2013 results were 4.3 percent lower than the figures for the first 11 months of 2011.
Total industrial exports (excluding fuel oil) in the month of November alone last year fell by 9.6 percent to $218.7 million compared to the same month in 2012.
Among the main Lebanese-made products exported this year were agricultural foodstuffs, garments, chemicals, minerals and precious stones.
Iraq was the top country to import Lebanese food products in the month of November last year, while Turkey ranked first for mineral imports.
The report said that Arab markets remained the largest buyers of Lebanese-made goods in 2013, a trend which is likely to continue for the next few years.
Lebanon counts heavily on countries in the region to generate revenue through the export of its industrial and agricultural products.
Caretaker Industry Minister Vrej Sabounjian has been pressing Lebanese businessmen to seek new markets abroad and not to count on the government alone to facilitate their operations.
The minister has emphasized the need to open new markets in Africa, which in his opinion is a very promising region for industry.
Lebanon has succeeded to some extent in finding alternative avenues to ship goods abroad following the deterioration of security in neighboring Syria, which was the main outlet of such goods three years ago.
But despite the slight improvement in the industrial exports in the last three years, Lebanon still relies on the European, American and Asian markets to furnish many needed goods.