File - Trucks and cars are seen at the entrance of the Beirut port, Monday, Aug. 26, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Industrial and agricultural experts urged the government over the weekend to take measures aimed at curbing a trade deficit that has neared $7.33 billion in the first five months of 2014, recording an increase of 1.85 percent in comparison with May 2013 .The increase in the deficit was buoyed by a $578 million contraction in exports to around $1.39 billion, which outweighed the $445 million year-on-year drop in imports to around $8.71 billion.Lebanese exports suffered a drop of 29.41 percent from $1.96 billion in May 2013 to $1.39 billion in May 2014 .Economist Ghazi Wazneh believes that the trade deficit cannot be curbed in Lebanon because 75 percent of national consumption relies on imported goods.Wazneh said the trade deficit in 2014 is moving upward because of the increase in the price of oil while Lebanon imports around $6 billion worth of oil derivatives per year.As for exports, he added, Lebanon exports around 30 percent of its products to the region and mostly to Iraq, which is suffering from severe security issues. Wazneh argued that the government is focusing only on service sectors such as tourism and banking while sectors such as agriculture and industry are able to create more jobs.
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