Uncovering the links between Lebanon’s imports and customs’ revenues

Far from being a simple figure, Lebanon’s imports account for almost 50% of its GDP. Not a shocking fact when you see that ten years ago, imports also stood at 43% of the country’s GDP. The matter to discuss here is neither the structural trade deficit of the country nor the possible room to enhance self-sufficiency in at least food consumption, but rather, to assess the relationship between these ever growing imports and the government revenues from their customs.


Over the past ten years, Lebanon’s imports grew by around 130% to reach $21 billion by the end of 2013. Customs on the other hand, have increased by one quarter of this percentage, i.e. around 33%, with a collected amount of $1.4 billion in 2013. Naturally, customs’ growth is not expected to match the imports’ evolution, given that many items are spared from taxes, and demand elasticity on highly taxed imports vary from one item to the other. However, they are expected to at least go in the same direction, unless economically justified…

2014-05-Uncovering the links between Lebanon’s imports and customs’ revenues

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