Search

 

Cablegate: Lebanon: Syria Not in a Rush to Provide Lebanon With

VZCZCXRO9268
RR RUEHAG RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHKUK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHLB #0973/01 1851420
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 031420Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2399
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BEIRUT 000973

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/ELA
STATE PASS USTR
TREASURY FOR MNUGENT AND SBLEIWEISS
USDOC FOR 4520/ITA/MAC/ONE
NSC FOR ABRAMS/SINGH/YERGER/DEMOPOLOUS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EFIN PREL PGOV LE
SUBJECT: LEBANON: SYRIA NOT IN A RUSH TO PROVIDE LEBANON WITH
NATURAL GAS (ECONOMIC WEEK IN REVIEW, JUNE 30 - JULY 6, 2008)

CONTENTS
--------

-- LEBANON WILL NOT BE RECEIVING NATURAL GAS FROM SYRIA ANY TIME
SOON
-- CONSUMER LEBANON ASSOCIATION: 4.7 PERCENT INFLATION DURING SECOND
QUARTER 2008
-- USPTO/MEPI IPR STUDY TOUR PARTICIPANTS HOST LECTURE ON IPR FOR
LAWYERS
-- ANTI-COUNTERFEIT ASSOCIATION LAUNCHES AWARENESS CAMPAIGN
-- FINANCE MINISTER ATTENDS EUROMED COMMERCE CONFERENCE, DISCUSSES
FREE TRADE WITH TURKEY
-- MINISTRY OF INDUSTRY TO LAUNCH PROJECT TO GATHER DATA ON SECTOR
-- IMF MIDDLE EAST TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE CENTER: LEBANON SIXTH
LARGEST RECIPIENT IN THE REGION
-- WORLD BANK RELEASES STUDY ON LEBANON'S POLICIES AND PERFORMANCE
OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE
-- LEBANON REGRESSES IN WORLD BANK'S GOVERNANCE SURVEY

LEBANON WILL NOT BE RECEIVING NATURAL
GAS FROM SYRIA ANY TIME SOON
--------------------

1. (SBU) Advisor to Acting Minister of Energy and Water (MEW)
Mohammed Safadi, Raymond Ghajar, told us on July 3 that Lebanon will
not receive Egyptian natural gas to run the Beddawi power plant
(northern Lebanon) as anticipated in June/July because the
infrastructure between Syria and Lebanon's northern border is not
yet ready. He said Syria has repeatedly told Safadi that it needs
three to six months to expand the pumping station in Homs and
pipelines to swap Syrian natural gas for Egyptian natural gas.
Ghajar hopes the infrastructure will be ready by the end of the
year, but he believes "Syria is not in a rush to do it, most likely
because of the tense political situation between both countries."
Using natural gas in Beddawi power plant could reduce Lebanon's
energy costs by around $200 million annually.

CONSUMER LEBANON ASSOCIATION: 4.7 PERCENT
INFLATION DURING SECOND QUARTER 2008
--------------------

2. (U) On July 1, Consumer Lebanon (CL) association indicated that
during the second quarter of 2008, prices of consumer goods rose by
4.47 percent. Meanwhile, CL estimated that total inflation in the
past two years amounted to 47.5 percent.

USPTO/MEPI IPR STUDY TOUR PARTICIPANTS
HOST LECTURE ON IPR FOR LAWYERS
--------------------

3. (U) On July 2, Judges Georges Okais and Henry Khoury -- who
participated in the USPTO/MEPI IPR Study Tour held in the U.S. April
14-25, 2008 -- hosted a lecture at the Beirut Bar Association
entitled "Protecting Intellectual Property." Approximately 300
recent law school graduates attended, as the judges gave an overview
of the economic importance of Intellectual Property (IP), relevant
international treaties, the current status of Lebanese legislation,
and enforcement capabilities. The judges' recommendations included:
pushing for the passing of an e-commerce law and Lebanon's accession
to the WTO, updating customs legislation and improving customs
enforcement of intellectual property, establishing specialized IP
courts, enhancing the Police's Cybercrime and IPR Unit with greater
authority and more resources, increasing citizen's awareness of IP,
and incorporating more IP courses within the Judicial Institute.

ANTI-COUNTERFEIT ASSOCIATION
LAUNCHES AWARENESS CAMPAIGN
--------------------

4. (U) On June 2, the Brand Protection Group (BPG) -- an association
of leading local, regional, and international manufacturers and
distributors aimed at combating counterfeiting -- launched its third
consumer awareness campaign "Ask for your Rights, Refuse Counterfeit
Products." The campaign is scheduled to last until April 2009 and
will be featured on TV, radio, print media, billboards, and in
commercial establishments. The campaign will bring increased
attention to counterfeiting in product sectors of BPG company
members, such as fast moving consumer goods, cosmetics,
pharmaceuticals and sport goods. Other activities such as
participation in talk shows and interviews with local and regional

BEIRUT 00000973 002 OF 002


coverage are also planned.

FINANCE MINISTER ATTENDS EUROMED COMMERCE CONFERENCE,
DISCUSSES FREE TRADE WITH TURKEY
--------------------

5. (U) On June 2, Acting Finance Minister Jihad Azour attended the
seventh Euromed Commerce Conference in Marseille. Ministers of
Trade from 27 EU member countries and 13 Mediterranean countries,
including Israel, discussed economic integration in preparation for
the Union for the Mediterranean Summit that will be held on July 13
in Paris.

6. (U) French daily L'Orient-le Jour reported that, on the sidelines
of the conference, Azour discussed with Turkish State Minister of
Trade the status of negotiations for a free-trade agreement. Turkey
had proposed to replace the free-trade agreement with an association
agreement, which will cover economic and technical cooperation in
addition to commercial issues.

MINISTRY OF INDUSTRY TO LAUNCH DATA GATHERING
PROJECT
--------------------

7. (U) The Lebanese Ministry of Industry, in collaboration with the
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the
Association of Lebanese Industrialists (ALI), announced that it will
begin implementation of a project to gather industrial statistics on
July 28, 2008. The project will cover around 7,000 Lebanese
industries that employ over five people. Thereafter, the Ministry
expects to be able to publish indices on industrial sector activity,
industrial production and export activity on a regular basis.

IMF MIDDLE EAST TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE CENTER: LEBANON SIXTH LARGEST
RECIPIENT IN THE REGION
--------------------

8. (U) The International Monetary Fund's Middle East Technical
Assistance Center (METAC) indicated that Lebanon accounted for eight
percent of its overall allocation of technical assistance delivery
during fiscal year 2008, or the sixth largest recipient in the
region. More than 50 percent of METAC's assistance was allocated
towards macroeconomic statistics support, followed by public
financial management assistance, Central Bank accounting, banking
supervision assistance, and revenue administration.

WORLD BANK RELEASES STUDY ON LEBANON'S POLICIES
AND PERFORMANCE OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE
--------------------

9. (U) Based on a World Bank study in which Lebanon was measured
against the rest of the world by five indicators dealing with
policies and performance of international trade, Lebanon ranked 59
in trade openness, 68 in market access for exports, 98 for
logistical performance, 85 for ease of doing business, and 122 for
trade performance. The study also indicated that Lebanon's trade
grew by 4.9 percent in 2007 in real terms, after declining in
2005-2006 as a result of domestic and regional instability. Trade
accounted for 146 percent of GDP in 2007, while services accounted
for 80.4 percent of total exports during the same year.

LEBANON REGRESSES IN WORLD
BANK'S GOVERNANCE SURVEY
--------------------

10. (U) According to the World Bank's annual governance survey for
2007, Lebanon fell in five out of six categories compared to the
previous year. Out of 212 countries worldwide and 19 MENA
countries, Lebanon's rank regressed in the categories of government
effectiveness, political stability, regulatory quality, rule of law,
and control of corruption. Meanwhile, Lebanon's rank rose by seven
places worldwide and two places within the MENA region in the voice
and accountability indicator.

SISON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC