File - Ships are seen docked at the port in Tripoli. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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Though the end of the conflict in Syria may be years away, Lebanon is already working to position itself as a key hub for future reconstruction efforts – primarily fueled by foreign aid.China has long played a secondary role in Lebanon's economy.During a recent visit by a high-level Chinese business delegation, representatives from Fransabank touted Lebanon's liberal tax policy, attractive business environment and a multitude of burgeoning sectors anxious for a quick influx of cash.Without foreign investment, however, these projects are set to falter. Part of the attraction for foreign investors, said Peter Mousley, a program leader at the World Bank, is the zone's proposed regulations.However, according to Farid Abboud, former Lebanese ambassador to China, Lebanon's hopes for a financial windfall from reconstruction efforts might be premature.Because of this, Abboud added, Chinese businesses and the government were still skeptical, and likely to wait before investing.Itani said this reluctance was driven by a general sense of the immense complexity of doing business in Syria.
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