(September 2009) A Marmomacc press release (Italian) highlights Lebanon’s potential as a promising market for Italian stone and machine industry. Accordingly not one but two options make this tiny East-Mediterranean country interesting: it has been experiencing a building boom since a few years now and it is an established gateway for trade with the Gulf States.
The organizers of the fair speak of 8 % growth of the Lebanese economy during the last few years. The turnaround is a result of billions of dollars in war reparations from home coffers and from abroad after the end of the war with Israel.
This building boom attracted investors from all over the world. The organizers of the fair point out the outstanding project focussed on the Island of Cedars near the coast south of Beirut. This is where the Noor International Holding has begun a gargantuan project comparable in dimension to the Palm Island of Dubai. The press named the figure of 100 billion € to be invested. Noor recently called to life a real estate investment company operating in Lebanon and adjacent countries.
Here are some figures published by Marmomacc: Lebanon imported marble blocks valued at over 19.6 Million $ in 2008, 40 % of which originated from Italy, also granite blocks valuing 1.2 million $, 28 % of which came from Italy. Italy’s contribution in form of unpolished marble tiles seems noteworthy valuing 2.5 million $.
The press release points to an interesting particularity of Lebanese import duty tariffs: the duty on polished marble slabs is 25 % whereas for unpolished marble only 5 % is imposed.
The press release goes on to note that Italy has already activated a Beirut branch of its Foreign Trade Institute ICE. For local traders the Institute has compiled „a complete and up-to-date list of all programmes and international competitors“.