Government of the United Kingdom | 19 September 2019
UK and Lebanon sign trade continuity agreement
Trade Policy Minister, the Rt Hon Conor Burns MP and the Lebanese Minister for Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, Gebran Bassil have today (Thursday 19 September) signed a UK-Lebanon association agreement. It ensures British businesses and consumers will continue to benefit from preferential trading terms with Lebanon after we leave the European Union.
The signature of the UK-Lebanon Association Agreement at the UK-Lebanon Tech Forum in London will provide a framework for cooperation on and development of political, economic, social and cultural links.
The new UK-Lebanon Association Agreement provides, among other trade benefits, tariff-free trade of industrial products together with liberalisation of trade in agricultural, agri-food and fisheries products. Trading on these preferential terms delivers significant savings, helping to support British jobs and also providing a positive boost for Lebanon’s economy, which continues to be impacted by the Syrian crisis.
This agreement provides a platform for trade between the UK and Lebanon to grow, with total trade worth £603 million in 2018. It also provides the certainty for British and Lebanese consumers and businesses to continue trading following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The agreement sends a strong signal that Britain is committed to a close bilateral relationship with Lebanon.
Minister of State for International Trade Conor Burns said:
- Our priority is to ensure businesses are fully prepared and have the tools they need to continue to trade by the 31 October. Today’s signing with Lebanon will help provide certainty and opportunities for businesses in both the UK and Lebanon.
- I hope that this agreement will usher in a new phase of increased bilateral investment in each other’s economies, which is the basis for continued stable economic growth.
Minister for the Middle East and North Africa Dr Andrew Murrison said:
- I welcome the signing of the UK-Lebanon Association Agreement, which provides certainty and confidence to UK and Lebanese consumers and businesses as we leave the European Union.
- The economic and trade relationship between our two countries holds much potential. I look forward to more British and Lebanese companies doing business with each other, investing and operating in the UK and Lebanon as a result of this agreement.
Wilson Del Socorro, Global Director of Government Affairs at Diageo Plc added:
- As a leading UK exporter with 200 brands in over 180 countries around the world, we congratulate the parties in finalising the UK-Lebanon Association Agreement.
- The continuity of free trade arrangements between the UK and countries like Lebanon after Brexit will ensure our business continues to serve the growing consumer demand for UK spirits, such as Scotch whisky, all around the world.
The UK has signed agreements with countries that account for £90 billion of trade. This has increased from £39 billion since March, and will increase to £99 billion when the Southern African Customs Union and Mozambique agreement is signed.