Lebanon

Relation: 

The EFTA States signed a Free Trade Agreement with Lebanon in Montreux, Switzerland, on 24 June 2004. The Agreement entered into force on 1 July 2007.

 

Summary

The Free Trade Agreement covers trade in industrial products, including fish and marine products. In addition, bilateral agreements on basic agricultural products between the individual EFTA countries and Lebanon have been concluded and form part of the instruments creating the free trade area.

Among the objectives of the Agreement is the progressive liberalisation of trade in goods in conformity with Article XXIV of the GATT. By 1 March 2015, virtually all customs duties on trade in industrial goods and fish and other marine products have been eliminated. The Agreement also includes provisions relating to the elimination of other trade barriers as well as trade-related disciplines including rules of competition, state monopolies and state aid. Moreover, the Agreement contains Chapters on intellectual property, services, investment as well as payments and transfers. The Agreement establishes a Joint Committee which supervises the application of the Agreement and provides for binding arbitration.

Content of the Free Trade Agreement

The Agreement consists of 42 Articles, five Annexes, three Protocols and a Final Act. The Agreement covers the following main subjects:

Trade in Goods

Industrial Goods

The Agreement provides for effective market access for industrial goods in terms of tariffs and rules of origin, creating EU parity for EFTA exports to Lebanon. By 1 March 2015, all industrial goods originating in the EFTA States enjoy duty free access into Lebanon. Lebanese exports into the EFTA States are duty-free as from the entry into force of the Agreement.

Fish and marine products

The Agreement covers trade in all fish and other marine products. The EFTA States grant duty-free access on imports of all Lebanese fish products. By 1 March 2015, the remaining Lebanese tariffs on fish and other marine products are brought down to zero.

Agricultural products

Trade in processed agricultural products is covered in a Protocol to the main Agreement.

In addition, trade in basic agricultural products is covered in three bilateral agreements negotiated separately between Iceland, Norway and Switzerland/Liechtenstein on the one hand and Lebanon on the other hand. These agreements form part of the instruments establishing the free trade area. They provide for mutual tariff concessions. Each agreement also contains specific rules of origin, generally based on the “wholly-obtained” criteria.

Rules of Origin

The rules of origin for industrial goods concerning the definition of the concept of originating products and the methods for administrative co-operation are based on the current Euro-Mediterranean (EuroMed) model, maintaining the general structure and the substance of the European standard rules. The specific list rules are also based on the current Euro-Med model.

Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS)

The Parties agree to apply their regulations in sanitary and phytosanitary matters in a non-discriminatory fashion and not apply any new measures that have the effect of unduly obstructing trade. 

Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT)

The Parties agree to co-operate in the field of technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment, and to consult in the Joint Committee in case a Party considers that another Party has taken measures which are likely to create, or have created, a technical obstacle to trade as defined in the relevant WTO Agreement. 

Trade Remedies 

The Agreement contains provisions on subsidies and antidumping which are in line with the respective WTO rules, as well as procedures for the application of safeguard measures. 

Trade in Services

The Parties aim at achieving gradual liberalisation and the mutual opening of their markets for trade in services in accordance with the provisions of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Moreover, the EFTA States and Lebanon will consider extending to each other additional benefits that either side may grant to a third party.

Investment

Under the Agreement, payments relating to trade and investment-related transfers must not be restricted. The Parties share the goal of promoting, through different means, an attractive and stable environment for reciprocal investments.

Protection of Intellectual Property (IPR)

The Agreement sets a high standard for the protection of intellectual property rights, covering areas including patents, copyright, industrial designs, undisclosed information and geographical indications. It goes, in certain areas, beyond what is provided for in the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and other international conventions and treaties.

Government Procurement 

The Parties aim at a reciprocal and gradual liberalisation of procurement contracts, to be implemented on the basis of decisions by the Joint Committee, which is set up under the Agreement. The Agreement opens up for negotiations with a view to extending possible future additional benefits granted to third parties by either the EFTA States or Lebanon.

Competition

Cartels between, and the abuse of a dominant position by, economic operators of the Parties are incompatible with the Agreement if they affect trade between the EFTA States and Lebanon. In such a case, a Party may bring the matter before the Joint Committee and, failing an agreement between the Parties concerned, may take appropriate measures. The Agreement also foresees an exchange of information between the Parties with respect to the enforcement of their competition laws.

Institutional Provisions

A Joint Committee composed of representatives of the EFTA States and Lebanon supervises the application of the Agreement. The Parties may hold consultations and, failing an agreement, apply provisional measures.

Dispute Settlement

Lebanon or any EFTA State may refer a dispute relating to the interpretation of rights and obligations under the Agreement to binding arbitration if consultations do not lead to a settlement. The arbitral tribunal will settle the dispute in accordance with the provisions of the Agreement and the customary rules of interpretation of public international law.

Economic Co-Operation and Technical Assistance

In order to facilitate the implementation of the Agreement, the EFTA States and Lebanon will elaborate modalities for technical assistance and co-operation and co-ordinate their efforts with relevant international organisations.

Annexes and Record of Understanding

Annexes, Protocols and Joint Declarations

Horizontal Issues Annex I Territorial Application    
Trade in Goods Annex II Products not covered by the Agreement    
  Annex III Fish and Other Marine Products    
  Annex IV Customs Duties on Imports and Charges having Equivalant Effect Table  
  Protocol A Processed Agricultural Products Table I  
      Table II Iceland
      Table III Liechtenstein, Switzerland
      Table IV Norway
      Table V Lebanon
  Protocol B Concerning the Definition of the Concept of "Originating Products" and Methods of Administrative Co-operation Annex I Introductory Notes
      Annex II List Rules
      Annex III A Movement Certificate EUR.1
      Annex III B Movement Certificate EUR-MED
      Annex IV A Invoice Declaration
      Annex IV B Invoice Declaration EUR-MED
  Protocol C State Monopolies    
IPR Annex V Protection of Intellectual Property  
Other Joint Declaration Concerning improvement of Rules of Origin    
  Joint Declaration Concerning the adaption of Protocol B in accordance with the Euro-Mediterranean provisions on Rules of Origin    
  Joint Declaration Concerning the application of Article 15 of Protocol B    
  Joint Declaration On Rules of Competition concerning undertakings    

 

Bilateral Agreements on Agriculture

Agricultural Agreements

Iceland-Lebanon
Norway-Lebanon
Switzerland-Lebanon - English / French / German / Italian
Joint Committee Decisions
Decision Subject Adopted Entry into force
2011
No. 1/2011 Annex IV 03.03.2011 01.05.2013
2009
No. 4/2009 Protocol B 08.10.2009 Pending
No. 3/2009 Protocol A 08.10.2009 Pending
No. 2/2009 Annex II 08.10.2009 Pending
No. 1/2009 Rules of Procedure of the Joint Committee 08.10.2009 08.10.2009

 

Joint Declaration on Cooperation
Statistics

For EFTA-Lebanon trade statistics, see EFTA Trade Statistics Tool

Officer
Trade Relations Division

+41 223322 637