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General trade
Big Trade opportunities in the Libyan market

After a long period of internal development Libya is now fully opening its gates to the world.

The Libyan market re-opened in 1999 following the restoration of diplomatic relations and the suspension of UN and EU sanctions.

Libya has reduced its trade with the ex-socialist countries since 1991, while expanding trade with North African and Western countries. The suspension of UN sanctions removed barriers to trade with most Western countries.

Libya has recently experienced rapid expansion in the construction, oil & gas, telecommunications, health and agribusiness sectors, and leading Libyan analyst’s project sustained growth well into the future. To bring the country out of its economic isolation and further bolster the Libyan economy, a number of laws have been issued regarding the creation of free trade zones (FTZ). The Free Trade Act of 1999 created a legal framework for establishing offshore free trade zones in Libya. The Libyan General People's Committee's Law (168) of year 2006 establishes the Libyan Free Zones Board , which will supervise and run all the intended Libyan free trade zones; Law   (215) of   2006, declares the foundation of Zwara-Abu-Kemmash Free Trade Zone ; and Law (32) of year 2006 declares the foundation of Musrata Free Trade Zone .

The oil and gas sector is the main driver of the Libyan economy, accounting for 95% of the country’s export revenues.  Economic reform is a top priority for the Libyan government and there are plans to diversify the economy with the development of other sectors.

Export opportunities exist in a wide range of sectors, but Libya is not an easy market, particularly for first-time exporters.  Libyan companies tend to stick with established contacts, and new market entrants will require a lot of energy, patience, relationship and determination.  Companies that can offer a training element with their goods and services will have a more competitive edge in the market. 

Maybe the following sectors in Libya offer the best opportunities for foreign companies:

• Construction,
• Education, Skills and Leisure,
• Financial and Legal Services,
• Healthcare,
• Oil and Gas,
• Mass Transport (Airports, Ports and Logistics),
• Telecommunications,

Export - Imports

Exports (2008 est.)-- $64.5 billion f.o.b.: crude oil, refined petroleum products.
Major markets (2008)-- Italy (38%), Germany (12%), Spain (6.9%), France (7.4%), U.S. (6.4%).

Imports (2008 est.)-- $26.55 billion f.o.b.: machinery, transport equipment, food, manufactured goods.
Major suppliers (2008)-- Italy (22.2%), Germany (8.6%), Tunisia (5.8%), Turkey (6.1%), France (4.1%), South Korea (4.7%), China (9.3%).

No nation was ever ruined by trade.
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist and philosopher.


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