Germany and Lebanon: Bilateral relations
The two countries have a tradition of amicable relations and enjoy close exchange. Then Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the country from 21 to 22 June 2018, and Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier travelled to Lebanon from 30 to 31 January 2018. Since the outbreak of the conflict in Syria, Germany has made a significant contribution to caring for Syrian refugees in Lebanon and to supporting communities that have taken in refugees.
Due to the widespread economic crisis in the country, bilateral trade has plummeted since 2019, with exports to Germany falling by 20.8 percent to 41.1 million euro in 2021, and imports by 32.3 percent to 517.7 million euro. Germany is the seventh-largest importer in Lebanon. Principal import goods include chemical products (21.2 percent), motor vehicles and parts (10.6 percent), as well as machinery (9.4 percent). 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. While there is no German Chamber of Commerce Abroad in Lebanon, the German Chamber of Commerce Abroad in Cairo operates a branch in Beirut.
Development cooperation and humanitarian assistance
Germany is the third-largest donor to Lebanon after the US and the European Union, funding humanitarian assistance, development cooperation, stabilisation, capacity-building and cultural policy. Germany is supporting Lebanon particularly in its efforts to alleviate the impacts of the conflict in Syria 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. The Federal Government supported humanitarian measures to the tune of around 146.8 million euro in 2021 alone. In the aftermath of the devastating explosion in the port of Beirut on 4 August 2020, the Federal Government also provided emergency assistance totalling 27.4 million euro.
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 that offers more intensive German teaching. There is 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 political foundations.