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PROSPECT OF RE-OPENING BORDER CROSSING WITH SYRIA TO BENEFIT LEBANON’S AGRICULTURAL EXPORTS

BEIRUT, Lebanon, The chief of Lebanese Farmers' Association, said, the potential re-opening of the Nasib border crossing, principal export route to Gulf markets, will benefit the country's agricultural exports. "We expect our agricultural exports to go up, following the opening of the Nasib border," Antoine Howayek, said.

On Apr 1, 2015, Jordan closed its border with Syria, following heavy clashes between rebels and Syrian government forces, near the Nasib crossing. As the only functioning crossing between Jordan and Syria, Nasib is vital for the transport of goods from Lebanon and Syria to Jordan and the Gulf states.

Lebanon's agricultural exports suffered heavily, following the closure of the Nasib border crossing. "Our agricultural exports dropped from 530,000 tonnes to 350,000 tonnes, equivalent to an over 35-percent decrease," Howayek said, adding that, Lebanese farmers have to resort to maritime export.

The cost of maritime export, however, doubles that of land export, according to the Lebanese association chief.

"We used to pay 8,000 U.S. dollars to export one container of agroproducts by sea to Qatar, compared to 4,000 dollars by land," he explained.

After a three-year closure, Syrian government forces, on Friday, took control over the major crossing point, raising a Syrian flag there.

"We are happy that the crossing is in the hands of the Syrian army again, which will enable us to export all kinds of products again, by land," said Howayek.

Source: Nam News Network