The two countries have a tradition of amicable relations and enjoy close exchange. On 18 September 2019 Foreign Minister Heiko Mass met his Lebanese counterpart Gebran Bassil in Berlin. Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the country from 21 to 22 June 2018, and Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier from 30 to 31 January 2018. Since the outbreak of the conflict in Syria, Germany has been providing a significant contribution to care for Syrian refugees in Lebanon and to support communities that have taken in refugees.
Lebanon’s main exports from Germany are motor vehicles and vehicle parts, machinery, chemical products and pharmaceuticals. In 2018 it imported goods worth approximately 760 million euros. Germany is thus one of Lebanon’s biggest import partners. Lebanese exports to Germany were worth 42 million euros.
A bilateral investment protection agreement was signed in 1999, but there is hardly any German direct investment in Lebanon. There is no double taxation agreement between the two countries.
Only a few companies, including Lufthansa and Commerzbank, have offices in Beirut. There is no German Chamber of Commerce Abroad in Lebanon, but the German Chamber of Commerce Abroad in Cairo opened a branch in Beirut in the autumn.
Development cooperation and humanitarian assistance
The Federal Government resumed bilateral development cooperation temporarily in 2015. The jointly agreed priority areas are water/waste water, education and sustainable economic development and vocational training. Germany is supporting Lebanon particularly in its efforts to alleviate the effects of the Syria conflict and provide care for Syrian refugees. This support includes comprehensive humanitarian measures. Approximately 1.5 million refugees currently live in Lebanon, which has a population of around 4.5 million.
In 2018, the German Government made available some 370 million euros to help Lebanon deal with the consequences of the Syrian crisis as well as to strengthen Lebanese institutions.
Culture and education
Cultural relations are traditionally close and diverse, with a focus on the creative industries, cultural preservation and archaeological projects. There is one German school and another school which offers more intensive German teaching. There are also an increasing number of exchange programmes between German and Lebanese universities. A bilateral cultural agreement was ratified in August 2011. The Goethe-Institut, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Orient-Institut Beirut of the Max Weber Foundation are represented, in addition to the political foundations.