Fadi Gemayel, head of the Lebanese industrialists association, alert that industries are in massive danger.
“We have resisted and fought for years and years, and most of the time we were silent, because the reality in the country was not qualified to produce solutions. But now that life in the constitutional institutions has returned to normal, with the election of the president and the formation of the government, we see that “the time has come to raise the voice high ... The silence has become a crime,” Gemayel told reporters.
He added: “Yes, after today we will not be silent about the slow death hitting the body of our industrial sector, we will not keep silent about the series of closing factories, we will not keep silent about the continued decline of industrial exports, will not keep silent about the shrinking of the share of national industry in the domestic market.”
He also slammed the unlicensed factories in Lebanon that are threatening the legitimate Lebanese industrial plants.
“We will not be silent about illegal institutions that are spawning like mushrooms in all areas by the displaced to replace our legitimate institutions, which our forefathers and fathers built with the sweat of their brow, to die on a dark night. We can no longer tolerate sisterly or friendly countries that do not treat us as we do. The doors of Lebanon are open to importing their products while our industry faces endless obstacles,” Gemayel said in clear reference to Syria.
Lebanese businessmen have constantly warned that many Syrians are setting up small- and medium-size businesses and industrial plants without even obtaining a permit from the authorities.
There are no official figures about the number of illegitimate shops and industrial plants that operate across the country.
Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hasan and Lebanese industrialists urged the government to save the sector from total collapse and put an end to the closure of factories in Lebanon.
Hajj Hasan warned that Lebanon’s economy is in “danger,” calling for immediate action to end “market dumping.”
Hajj Hasan called in a joint news conference with Economy Minister Raed Khoury on France and other countries to open their markets to Lebanese goods.
“We need to increase local production by $4 billion within two years.”
Hajj Hasan said that Lebanon’s exports since 2011 have declined.
“Now is the time to take decisive action on [market] dumping,” Hajj Hasan said. “Lebanon is suffering from serious oversaturation and illegal competition.”
Khoury echoed similar sentiments about the industry sector in Lebanon. “Industry is a key component of Lebanon’s economy,” Khoury said, adding that a working group was formed to ease economic burdens on traders in Lebanon.