Amid Lebanon's escalating economic crisis and its unpredictable currency fluctuation, a significant number of the Lebanese people have been resorting to buying Syrian products in a bid to save their supermarket bills amid financial constraints.
Several businesses across the country have resorted to firing their employees, downsizing, and closing down since the crisis began rapidly deteriorating and escalated into a massive revolution.
Chinese news agency Xinhua reported from their interview with a sales representative in Lebanon that she is now buying Syrian products because of the obstacles the financial constraints pose upon European imports.
She told the news agency: "I have substituted much of my purchases with Syrian products because I cannot afford buying Europe-imported items anymore. How can I afford to buy luxurious products with my salary being cut in half and prices having increased by more than 40% in some cases?"
Lebanon's severe economic crisis has caused multiple local companies to slash the salaries of their employees in half in order to maintain operations during this difficult period.
Most business owners interviewed by the news outlet have stated that they are currently trying to adapt to Syrian products. They are simply cheaper since the cost of production in Syria is lower than in Lebanon and other countries.
Nabil Fahd, Head of the Supermarket Owners' Association, stated that people are focusing today on products at lower prices no matter where they come from in order to keep their businesses running and their employees paid.
He remarked that Syrian products are mostly found in small grocery shops and demands on these products have been increasing lately because people's purchasing power has decreased significantly.
Fahd further explained that Syrian products currently have an advantage in being exported almost anywhere in the world, since the Syrian pound has depreciated with respect to the US Dollar.
Another employee told Xinhua, "I am still paid the same salary in Lebanese pounds but its value has dropped tremendously ever since the price of U.S. dollar rose in the Lebanese market."
Adnan Rammal, representative of the trade sector in the Economic and Social Council, said the resorting to Syrian substitutes is justified, namely due to the fact that some of these products enter the country illegally, making them cheaper since they are "exempt" from taxation.
As the country's smallest and biggest business owners struggle to access their money, import goods, as well as keep their businesses afloat, we can only hope that the financial "rescue plan" Lebanon's officials speak so highly of proposes some real progress after the "painful steps" the country needs to take.