USD 355 billion of imports in 30 years

The economic-monetary crisis that hit Lebanon several months ago has revealed a bitter and painful truth: We produce nothing, or hardly, and we consume much of what we import. We have ended up importing what we produce or what we are able to produce and excessively consuming luxuries. We import clothes while we manufacture them. We import apples, honey, water and roses while we produce them.

We import cars for every family member even if the streets are narrow and there is no parking available. We buy new sunglasses and cell phones each season, and the needy among us every year. We recruit unnecessary domestic workers whose nationalities became a mark of distinction and social advancement for the majority of families. The import figures over the past thirty years (1990-2020) have proved today’s harsh and deadly truth. Imports have reached USD 355 billion while exports have not exceeded USD 64 billion, i.e. a deficit of USD 291.4 billion. The following table shows the value of imports and exports and the trade deficit during 1990-May 2020.