Lebanon Tightens Anti-Smuggling Measures Following Saudi Produce Import Ban

Lebanon Tightens Anti-Smuggling Measures Following Saudi Import Ban
Lebanese Presidency | @SPAregions

Lebanese President Michel Aoun headed a meeting on Monday to discuss the recent ban imposed by Saudi Arabia on fruit and vegetable imports from Lebanon.

The Baabda meeting resulted in the following measures being taken to combat drug smuggling from Lebanese territory:

  • Asking the State Prosecutor to continue the required investigations into the smuggling of narcotics in fruit and vegetable consignments that entered Lebanese territory, and the parties responsible for their export to Saudi Arabia.
  • Imposing, in accordance with the laws and regulations in force, the most stringent penalties on the perpetrators, planners, implementers, and negligent parties, provided that Saudi officials are informed of the results as soon as possible.
  • Requesting that military and security forces, customs, and competent administrations be strict in the procedures aimed at preventing all kinds of smuggling from the Lebanese borders to any destination, especially shipments sent to the Gulf states, and ensure that they are free of any prohibited goods.
  • Asking Lebanese exporters to abide by the rules of foreign trade, which is based on the credibility of exported goods in terms of their origin, type, and quantities, in addition to the information related to them, and to scrutinize exported products, in order to preserve Lebanon’s reputation on the one hand and the cleanliness of their products on the other hand.
  • Requesting that the Finance Minister follows up the implementation of Decree 6748 (30/07/2020), which is related to the mandatory system for inspecting and controlling containers, goods, and vehicles at Lebanese border facilities, and launching a tender for the establishment of this system under all customs conditions.
  • Tasking the Interior Minister with communicating and coordinating with the Saudi authorities to continue looking into the procedures to uncover the perpetrators and prevent the recurrence of such smuggling incidents.
  • Tasking the Finance, Economy, Agriculture, and Industry Ministers with reviewing the mechanisms and procedures followed in foreign trade and proposing the necessary amendments to the legal texts currently in force, to ensure the safety and quality of Lebanese exports, in coordination with the union of the Chambers of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture.
  • Tasking the Finance Minister with preparing a detailed report of the needs, supplies, and equipment necessary to improve the performance and readiness of the General Directorate of Customs.

The officials attending the meeting hoped that Saudi Arabia reconsiders the decision to ban the import of Lebanese produce, a decision the Saudi authorities took on Friday after seizing a large drug shipment concealed in a fruit consignment.

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