Federation of Saudi Chambers stops all commercial dealings with Lebanon

RIYADH- Ajlan Al-Ajlan, president of the Federation of Saudi Chambers (FSC), said that all Saudi companies have halted their entire dealings with Lebanese companies.
“This is in response to the justification and blessings from the Lebanese government for terrorist acts targeting Saudi Arabia and its social and economic capabilities,” he said while speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.
Al-Ajlan said that no Saudi company would deal with any of their Lebanese counterparts or any economic sector in Lebanon, as well as with the Lebanese government.

“The Lebanese government had justified the terrorist attacks with booby-trapped drones on the Kingdom and its people as well as its economic and social gains. This is not acceptable to any government, including the Lebanese government,” he said, while noting that in view of this, the measure taken by Saudi businessmen and companies is the least that can be offered to stand by their country’s government.

Al-Ajlan lauded the quick move by Saudi companies to stop commercial dealings with Lebanon and that was in response to a call through his Twitter account on Friday. In a tweet, he urged the Saudi companies to stop all commercial and economic dealings with Lebanon, in response to its persistence in targeting Saudi Arabia with drug smuggling and justifying terrorist acts in all its forms and manifestations that the Kingdom has been exposed to.

Regarding the fate of Saudi investors in Lebanon, Al-Ajlan stressed that the suspension of cooperation covers all economic, commercial, as well as investment levels.

“It is illogical for the Lebanese government to continue its act of encouraging terrorist acts and flooding the Saudi market with drugs. There was no initiative on its part even after the Saudi government cooperated with the concerned authorities in Lebanon to stop such acts so as to preserve the interests of the Lebanese people.”

As a result of the Saudi move, the Lebanese economy is expected to incur losses amounting to about $220 million of the total value of exports to countries around the world and that does not exceed $3 billion.

The Lebanese agricultural sector would be the biggest loser by about $92 million, and the industrial sector by about $97 million, while the Lebanese producers will face a problem in finding alternative markets for the export of their industrial and agricultural products other than the European countries, especially since these products do not meet the terms and conditions of the European Union.

The Lebanese tourism sector, which was the main driver of the Lebanese economy in the past years, too has met with a major collapse. The Lebanese economy depended heavily on Gulf tourists until the flow of tourists from the Gulf countries came to a halt in 2015 due to security reasons.

Until that time, Saudi tourists topped the volume of spending in Lebanon with a stake of 16 percent of the total spending by tourists in general.

Saudi Arabia was also the major donor of aid to Lebanon during the period between 1990 and 2015 and it was very huge while compared to the Iranian contributions to the country.

According to an international report, the volume of Saudi direct and indirect aid to Lebanon exceeded $70 billion during the period and this represented investments, aid, grants and gifts, soft loans and deposits in banks, while Iranian contributions to the Lebanese government did not exceed $100 million, in parallel with its provision of $200 million annually to Hezbollah.

The report indicates that Saudi investments in Lebanon amounted to about $6 billion during the period between 2004 and 2015, in addition to the Saudi exports to Lebanon in 2014 amounted to $415.4 million. The Kingdom transferred a financial deposit of $1 billion during the 2006 war.

Al-Ajlan also stressed that Saudi Arabia has provided generous support to the Lebanese government to boost its economy and improve the welfare of its people for decades. And it was not absent from any position in support of Lebanon and its people.

“But the Lebanese government reacted to it with its support for the terrorist acts without giving any consideration to safeguarding the mutual relations and interests,” he added

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