Lebanon 2017 | ECONOMY | COLUMN

TBY talks to Raya haffar El Hassan, President, Tripoli Special Economic Zone (TSEZ), on the sector.

Raya haffar El Hassan

How has the zone progressed in recent years?

In 2016, we witnessed progress on several fronts. The first is the ongoing completion of the land reclamation project that will house the TSEZ. The contractor is expected to deliver the reclaimed land by end of June 2017. In addition, in terms of infrastructure, we have launched a bid to elaborate a master plan for the zone. Eight international and regional companies have been pre-qualified, and we are currently in the process of launching the request for proposals.

What competitive advantages does the zone offer?

We are the second-largest city in Lebanon, which enables investors to leverage significant human resource and raw material capacities. Labor costs are competitive, and there is a high availability of low-skilled, skilled, and unskilled labor. There are huge future opportunities for firms to participate in the future reconstruction of Syria, given our proximity (30km) from the border. We also have substantial financial, administrative, and fiscal incentives with no tax holiday limitations and easy accessibility to markets due to the fact that TSEZ is adjacent to the newly expanded Port of Tripoli, the planned railway network linking Tripoli to the Syrian border, and the Renee Mouawad airport.