Lebanon | A-LAW International Law Firm

Lebanon

Lebanon has e free market economy

Why trade or invest in Lebanon?

Lebanon has many advantages. Firstly, it is very open to trade and foreign investment.  Its economy is a free market economy. In addition, the non-control of foreign companies' capital and trade movement is also an undeniable advantage.  Finally, it should be emphasized that there is a very educated and qualified workforce in the country, a very good standard of living and limited investment restrictions.

Today there are considerable investment opportunities in the field of reconstruction of basic and productive infrastructures, trade, distribution and franchise.  The country has two operational free zones, one in the port of Beirut and one in the port of Tripoli.  The Lebanese government has just launched a plan to attract foreign investors.  It provides the creation of special economic zones, tax-free and specialized in high potential sectors like medical tourism, media, high-tech and food processing.  Each of these areas should receive special infrastructure and customs facilities. The plan also provides for the improvement of the country's image amongst foreign investors by developing the Lebanese Agency for the Promotion of Investment.

Some particularities of the Lebanese legal system you should know

Lebanese law does not differentiate between local and foreign investors, except in land acquisition  Lebanese common law, characterized by the freedom to do business, is in principle very open to all traditional forms of investment.  In addition, in order to facilitate the investor business establishment administrative formalities, the law n°360 of 16 August 2001 on investment promotion formed a government agency called IDAL (Investment Development Authority of Lebanon).  This agency, which is under the direct authority of the Prime Minister, grants numerous tax exemptions, or offers exceptional regimes, as long as the investment is in defined sectors of activity, in zones designated by name, and starting from a certain invested amount.

Likewise, this agency has the power to issue the necessary licenses and permits.  IDAL has also launched an "investors matching service" program to facilitate the creation of partnerships between local and foreign firms, in the form of joint ventures, capital holdings, acquisitions or other.

In 2006, the government signed a plan with the IMF to facilitate registration procedures for companies.  In 2007, the law to facilitate investment made it possible to reduce by half the time, cost and number of procedures for forming a company.  Lastly, the country has launched an ambitious privatization plan, which has led namely to the privatization of the telecommunications and electricity sectors.

Lebanon has signed bilateral agreements with about fifty countries to protect foreigners investments.  As for the judiciary system, Lebanon represents the particularity of having a religious court system beside his Judicial, administrative and military courts system.  The religious court system is composed of the court systems of the 18 recognized denominations pertaining to the three main religions of Christianity, Islam and Judaism.  The jurisdiction of these courts is limited to personal status and family law matters as authorized by law.

Whom we work for

A-LAW has been assigned with requests of comparative overviews of investments in different countries of the Middle East where under Lebanon, the performance of due diligence, guidance of transfer and asset deals, JV’s and so on.  From Lebanese side, an increasing interest is seen in business migration to Belgium and Europe as well as interest to acquire real estate.  Sectors of importance include technology and natural resources.

A-Law Lebanese desk has been providing legal support to clients in different areas, such as real estate issues, corporate and civil (family) law, traffic law, migration law, liability law and debts recovery (bankruptcy, administrative fines).  An in-depth approach of the different legal aspects of cross border cooperation and trade, commercial agency, distribution and franchising of a wide variety of products ranging from nutritional supplements and pharmaceuticals to high tech, design interior and fashion objects exported from or imported into Lebanon, have been assessed through A-Law dedicated team.

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