Swedish trade and trade policies towards Lebanon 1920-1965
Abstract: This licentiate thesis examines the development of Swedish–Lebanese trade relations and the changes of significance for Swedish trade towards Lebanon during the period 1920-1965. The aim of the study is to explore how Sweden as representing a small, open Western economy could develop its economic interests in the emerging Middle East market characterised both by promising economic outlooks, and a high degree of political instability during the age of decolonisation, Cold War logic, and intricate commercial and geo-political factors.The study shows that the Swedish trade with Lebanon was very small during the Interwar period. It was neither possible to find any formal Swedish-Lebanese trade agreements before 1945. In the Post-War period, the promotion of Swedish trade and trade policies towards Lebanon witnessed more interests from the both parties. Two categories of explanations were found for the periods of 1946-53 and 1954-65 respectively. In the first period the Swedish-Lebanese trade developed in a traditional direction with manufactured goods being exported from Sweden and agricultural products being exported from Lebanon. Furthermore, there were no trade agreements between the two countries. In the second period, several Lebanese attempts were made to conclude bilateral trade agreement with Sweden in hope to change the traditional trade direction, and to improve the Lebanese balance of trade. Sweden was, however, convinced that Lebanon could never achieve a balanced foreign trade at least not on a bilateral basis. To maintain a fair access to the Lebanese market, the Swedish authorities avoided to conclude any trade agreement with Lebanon. Despite the Lebanese concern on the big trade deficit between the two countries, Sweden managed in increasing the trade volumes to the region of Middle East through the transit link of Lebanon.
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