Foreign trade has been important in the economic life of Lebanon as a source of both income and employment. Some 40% of total exports are actually re-exports, principally machinery, metal products, foods, wood products, textiles, and chemicals.
The most expensive products that Lebanon exports are gold, silverware, jewelry, and precious stones (21%). Other exports include fruits, nuts and vegetables (10.5%), scrap metal (7.2%), and printed matter (4.5%). Major imports include food (29%), machinery and transport equipment (28%), consumer goods (18%), and chemicals (9%).
Principal trading partners in 2000 (in millions of US dollars) were as follows:
|United Arab Emirates||75||48||27|
|China (inc. Hong Kong)||n.a.||287||-277|