unctad.org | National Stakeholder Workshop on Natural Soaps in Lebanon
National Stakeholder Workshop on Natural Soaps in Lebanon
12 September 2018
Beirut, Lebanon

Key Issues


The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in collaboration with the Lebanese Ministry of Economy and Trade (MoET) organized a stakeholder workshop at MoET on enhancing exports of natural soap products. Both policymakers and soap producers attended the workshop.

Opening the workshop, Dr Alia Abbas, Director-General of MoET noted “We are meeting here today to discuss how to increase exports of green products, specifically natural soap. Our discussions will be richly supported by the National Green Export Review Report of Lebanon on Natural Soaps prepared by MoET in collaboration with the UNCTAD National Expert Dr Aurore Assaker”.
She added: ”This workshop seems of great importance for many reasons such as its direct connection with the policy set by the Directorate General of Economy and Trade which is making wide ranging efforts to introduce supportive policies for green production. This is important for Lebanon’s achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. MoET has chosen to focus on one important sector, which is natural soaps, as it considers these products are based on traditional production methods of Lebanese heritage that combines sound environmental and economic approaches. In addition, such production is linked to agriculture, industry and trade. We believe that the special criteria of this Lebanese production allows it to enter the international market and compete favourably with other products. Thus, we saw the need to set up a detailed study that allows us to draw a strategic and clear framework on how to increase Lebanese natural soap exports by opening new markets and launching effective promotion campaigns”.
Dr Abbas emphasized that “natural soap production has provided a source of income for many Lebanese families living in rural areas for a long time and it has become a part of Lebanese cultural heritage. Today we see that this traditional production has unique green characteristics that make it competitive with other international companies’ soap products in world markets”.
The workshop involved many interventions from many soap producers, who explained the problems they face in exporting their products. Dr Imad Yousef, Trade Officer at MoET, led policymakers and soap producers in a discussion of these problems and how to tackle them. The discussion showed broad agreement on a wide set of actions to advance the sector. Among these were three priority actions to be implemented without delay:
  1. Develop a specialized MSME cluster for the soap industry can potentially be a sustainable solution, allowing it to become more competitive on the national and international scale;
  2. Enhancing the infrastructure of soap production;
  3. Supporting natural soap producers to comply with international standards.
Co-organized with:Lebanese Ministry of Economy & Trade - MOET
Mr. Robert Hamwey Robert.Hamwey@unctad.org
Related Sites:

Trade and Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Branch

National Green Export Reviews



Lebanese Ministry of Economy & Trade




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