Lebanon’s Top 10 Exports

Lebanese flag (courtesy of FlagPictures.org)

Lebanese flag (FlagPictures)

A sovereign state in Western Asia bordered by Syria and Israel, the Lebanese Republic shipped US$3.3 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017.

That dollar amount reflects a -16.5% decline since 2013 but a 10.5% uptick from 2016 to 2017.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Lebanon’s exported goods plus services represent 26.4% of total Lebanese economic output or Gross Domestic Product. Please note that the overall value of exported goods and services includes a sizable share of re-exports. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, $2 billion or 61.6% of Lebanese exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while 19% were sold to African importers. Lebanon shipped another 13.8% worth of goods to Europe while a smaller percentage at 2.8% arrived in North America with just 0.7% going to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.

Given Lebanon’s population of 6.2 million people, its total $3.3 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $500 for every resident in the Middle Eastern nation.

Trading Economics projects Lebanon’s unemployment rate to be 6.7% as of June 2018.

Lebanon’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Lebanese global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Lebanon.

At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, cars are Lebanon’s most valuable export product followed by gold, iron or steel scrap, electric generating sets or converters, copper scrap, printed books and brochures, jewelry, diamonds then sugar.

  1. Vehicles: US$623.3 million (19% of total exports)
  2. Gems, precious metals: $548.5 million (16.7%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: $165.9 million (5%)
  4. Machinery including computers: $137.8 million (4.2%)
  5. Plastics, plastic articles: $133.7 million (4.1%)
  6. Perfumes, cosmetics: $116.7 million (3.5%)
  7. Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $98 million (3%)
  8. Iron, steel: $92.7 million (2.8%)
  9. Miscellaneous food preparations: $85.3 million (2.6%)
  10. Copper: $76.3 million (2.3%)

Lebanon’s top 10 exports accounted for 63.2% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Vehicles was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 4,243% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place for improving export sales was iron and steel which rose by 73.9%.

Lebanese copper posted the third-fastest gain in value via a 5.2% increase.

The leading decliner among the top 10 Lebanese export categories was gems and precious metals which fell by -33.8% led by lower international revenues for gold.


Six categories of Lebanese exported products generated positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Lead: US$28.1 million (Up by 76% since 2016)
  2. Books, newspapers, pictures: $27 million (Up by 349%)
  3. Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $22.1 million (Up by 11.7%)
  4. Fertilizers: $8.9 million (Reversing a -$17.9 million deficit)
  5. Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $2.3 million (Up by 3.9%)
  6. Miscellaneous animal-origin products: $415,000 (Down by -46.6%)

Lebanon has highly positive net exports in the international trade of lead and miscellaneous items made from lead. In turn, these cashflows indicate Lebanon’s strong competitive advantages under the lead product category.


Overall Lebanon incurred a -$14 billion product trade deficit for 2017 down by -10.9% from -$15.7 billion one year earlier.

Below are exports from Lebanon that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Lebanon’s goods trail Lebanese importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: -US$3.3 billion (Down by -11.2% since 2016)
  2. Pharmaceuticals: -$1.1 billion (Down by -3.6%)
  3. Vehicles: -$1 billion (Down by -39%)
  4. Machinery including computers: -$924.3 million (Down by -0.5%)
  5. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$543.3 million (Down by -11.9%)
  6. Iron, steel: -$491.7 million (Down by -7.2%)
  7. Plastics, plastic articles: -$453.4 million (Down by -2.7%)
  8. Gems, precious metals: -$324.5 million (Down by -24%)
  9. Cereals: -$290.2 million (Up by 3.3%)
  10. Live animals: -$289.7 million (Down by -6.2%)

Lebanon has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels including oil category, notably for refined petroleum oils, petroleum gases and petroleum coke.


Lebanese Export Companies

Two regional banks headquartered in Lebanon rank among Forbes Global 2000 for 2016, namely Bank Audi and Blom Bank.

Wikipedia lists exports-related companies from Lebanon. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Bonjus (juice)
  • Château Musar (winery)
  • IXSIR wine (winery)
  • Massaya (winery, distillery)
  • Middle East Airlines (airliner)
  • Tabbah (jewelry)

Lebanon’s capital city is Beirut, nicknamed “Paris of the East”.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

See also Top Middle Eastern Export Countries, Saudi Arabia’s Top 10 Exports and Bahrain’s Top 10 Exports

Research Sources:
FlagPictures.org, Flag of Lebanon. Accessed on June 25, 2018

Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 25, 2018

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 25, 2018

International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 25, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 25, 2018

The World Factbook, Middle East: Lebanon. Accessed on June 25, 2018

Wikipedia, Lebanon. Accessed on June 25, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Lebanon. Accessed on June 25, 2018

World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Beirut, Lebanon. Accessed on June 25, 2018