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Economy, Foreign Trade

total balance, Syria, foreign trade, metal products, savings accounts

In addition to the very important domestic and transit trade, foreign trade plays a major role in the Lebanese economy. Traditionally, Lebanonís balance of trade has been overwhelmingly unfavorable; in 2000 exports totaled $714 million, while imports totaled $6.2 billion. Nonetheless, Lebanon maintains a total balance-of-payments surplus because it receives large inflows of money in the form of remittances from family members who live abroad, investments in postwar reconstruction, and deposits in savings accounts that take advantage of the high interest rates. In 1995 these transfers amounted to $7.5 billion, yielding a balance-of-payments surplus of more than $1 billion. Exports go mainly to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Syria, Jordan, France, Italy, and the United States. Imports come from Italy, the United States, Germany, France, Syria, the United Kingdom, and Japan. Lebanonís chief exports are food and food products, paper products, chemicals, textiles, jewelry, and metal products. Imports include automobiles, trucks, heavy equipment, communications equipment, electronic goods, appliances, machinery, and petroleum and petroleum products.

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