Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Libya: Trade and investment news

Chinese crude imports from Libya fell in 2011 as a result of the virtual civil war but now Sinopec's trading subsidiary, Unipec, has signed deals with National Oil Company (NOC) to import approximately 100,000 b/d of crude oil from Libya. Meanwhile PetroChina's trading department, Chinaoil, will lift a further 40,000 b/d. Taken together China's acquisition of Libyan oil will cover the cuts that are being made to liftings of Iranian crude.

Meanwhile BP has reported that it is continuing to evaluate its position in Libya but has made it clear that the security of all staff would be an essential pre-requisite before a return to Libya could be seriously considered.

There is news that Libya will amend its banking laws to attract and protect foreign investment as well as encourage expansion in the Libyan private sector. Reuters has reported that the Libyan leadership is seeking to create a new legal framework and infrastructure. In essence, the 2005 Banking Law, which opened the country for foreign banks, will be at the centre of changes.

The Maltese government has expressed its willingness to back up the operations of the Bank of Valetta which first opened up a representative office in Libya in 2002.

Egyptian workers are trying to retrieve their special role as a supply of cheap labour for the agriculture and construction industries but the Libyans have been slow to assist. A reported 8,000 Egyptian passports are awaiting entry visas. The situation for migrants from West Africa is very different with little hope of a return to Libya and a deep aversion to taking up the immigrant trail to a country like that has treated them so badly since the war.

The recent visit by French Defence Minister,Gerard Longuet, gave opportunity for discussions at the highest level on improving cooperation in defence between the two countries. France is especially aware that continuing instability in North Africa is providing opportunities for al-Qa'ida and its regional affiliates.

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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