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Hariri confident financial crisis spared Lebanon.

Byline: Daily Star Staff

Summary: Deputy Saad Hariri said on Wednesday that all indications show that Lebanon has not been affected by the global financial crisis. Speaking at the opening the Lebanese Omani Businessmen Forum at the Movenpick Hotel, Hariri added that the Lebanese banks demonstrated a rare capability to withstand all the violent financial shocks.

BEIRUT: Deputy Saad Hariri said on Wednesday that all indications show that Lebanon has not been affected by the global financial crisis. Speaking at the opening the Lebanese Omani Businessmen Forum at the Movenpick Hotel, Hariri added that the Lebanese banks demonstrated a rare capability to withstand all the violent financial shocks.

"As a matter of fact, Lebanon is currently considered as a financial safe haven," Hariri said.

But he warned that Lebanon may be affected in the long run by the crisis because of the country's economic openness to the outside world.

"Our actual economy transcends the boundaries of Lebanon, especially when it comes to the close relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states."

He was alluding to the presence of thousands of Lebanese expatriates in the GCC states.

There is growing concern that many Lebanese working in the oil-rich Gulf states may lose their jobs if the firms curb their operations drastically this year.

"The biggest challenge for us is to seize the opportunity and confront the problems with minimum damage," Hariri said.

He said it's wrong to assume that market economy and globalization are failures.

"We should adopt proper economic and financial policies and most importantly introduce regulatory supervisions."

Hariri called for more inter-Arab investments and the launch of mutual projects.

Also on Wednesday, Economy and Trade Minister Mohammad Safadi revealed some statistics on Lebanese-Omani trade.

He added that the size of trade between Lebanon and Oman was still very modest.

Lebanon's exports to Oman in 2006 rose to $22 million before failing to $5.9 million in 2007 and $6 million in 2008.

Safadi called for the creation of a joint Lebanese and Omani government committee to strengthen trade and investments in both countries.

Omani ministers and businessmen talked about investment opportunities in Lebanon and stressed that the government would provide all the facilities to any Lebanese and Arab investor. - The Daily Star

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Date:Feb 5, 2009
Words:390
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