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Your One Stop Source: TRADE GUIDELINE Click on the flag to search
Muslimtrade Network members
about Libya.

L  I  B  Y  A 

1-1 General characteristics:
1-2. General Information:
1.3. The legal framework of trade relationships:

2. TRADE STRUCTURE (1996):  
2-1. Main exported products:
2-2. Main imported products:
2-3 Main trading partners:

3-1. Imports regulations:
3-2 Exports regulations:
3-3 Other formalities and documents:

4-1 Banking system:
4-2. Exchange system:
4-3. Methods and means for international settlement:

5-1 Applicable duties and taxes:
5-2. Special provisions:

6-1 International transport:
6-2 Telecommunications:
6-3 distribution system:



1-1 General characteristics: 

Official Name: The Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
Area: 1775500 square kilometers.
Population: 5,3 millions inhabitants in 1996.
Density: 3 inhabitants per square kilometer.
Capital: Tripoli.
Climate: The climate in this country is hot and dry. The Mediterranean Sea in the north and the Sahara in the south influence the weather conditions. The climate in Libya is of temperate nature and temperatures are very high in the south and low in the mountainous areas. Temperatures vary between 13 and 38°C.
Main holidays:  January 1st, march 8th, March 28th, May 1st, June 11th, September 1st, October 7th, Ascension of the prophet Mohamed*, Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha, Muharram 1st*, Eid-ul Mouloud* and Nisf Sha’aban*. 

(*) Variable Dates
Weekly holidays:  Thursday afternoon- Friday.

1-2. General Information:  

Languages: Arabic is the official language. English and Italian are also spoken in business circles. 
Currency:  Libyan Dinar (LD) 1US$ = 0.37 DL End of 1996.
Local time: GMT + 2.
Working hours:
Business and administrations: Monday- Friday From 7.30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. (November-May) and from 7a.m. to 2 p.m. (June-October) 

- Business: Saturday- Thursday : From 8 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday From 9 a.m. to 12a.m. 

- Banks: Saturday-Thursday From 9 a.m. to 12.30 a.m. / Saturday From 4 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.

1.3. The legal framework of trade relationships: 

Libya is member of the following international organizations:

United Nations Organization (UNO) and its specialized organs (IMF, World Bank); 
Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC); 
Arab Maghreb Union (AMU); 
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC); 
Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC); 
League of Arab States; 
Organization of the African Unity (OAU); 
Council of Arab Economic Unity. 

Libya is signatory to economic and commercial co-operation conventions among Arab countries.

In October 1994, the National Oil Company (NOC) signed an agreement with (Spain, France and Australia) Consortium to develop Murzuk.

In July 1995, Libya and Russia signed a commercial and technical co-operation agreement to assist Libya’s oil industries. 

Libya also signed co-operation agreements with Canadian, Moroccan and Egyptian companies in the fields of oil and drugs. 

Bilateral agreements were concluded between Libya and Egypt, Morocco, Niger, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Syria and Chad.


2-1. Main exported products: 

Mineral fuels, lubricants and related products; 
Manufactured goods, mainly classified according to the raw material; 
Food products and live animals. 

2-2. Main imported products: 

Machinery and transport equipment; 
Manufactured goods, mainly classified according to the raw material; 
Food products and live animals; 
Miscellaneous manufactured articles; 

2-3 Main trading partners: 

Main suppliers

Main customers





United Kingdom









3-1. Imports regulations 

Prohibited items are all alcohol products as well as the import of obscene literature, pork,, pork products and any kind of related products. All goods made in Israel are prohibited for import. The import of dogs and cats necessitate two veterinary health certificate and a rabies inoculation card. 

The following commodities are on the prohibited import list: mineral water, fruit juices, instant tea, certain types of coffee, green vegetables, poultry, preserved meat and vegetables, alcoholic beverages, peanuts, oriental rugs, soaps, envelops, crystal chandeliers, toys guns, luxury cars, and furs.

Import documentary requirements are as follows: 

Commercial invoice: one copy signed by the exporter showing full details of the contents and packing, the terms of sales, itemized expenses and CIF or CFR value is required. Invoices must be certified by the appropriate chamber of commerce and then legalized by consular authorities. 

Certificate of origin: the certificate of origin must be certified by the appropriate chamber of commerce and then presented to the consulate for legalization. If the products contain any foreign components, the country of origin and the percentage of the foreign components must be indicated. The certificate of origin must also specify that goods are consigned to a Libyan company or the like or the vessel or air carrier will not call and does not intend to call at any Israeli ports. 

Bill of lading: The bill of lading is required for all freight shipments. Identification marks and name and address of consignee should be shown clearly. The port of destination, the listing of the freight, and other charges, the number of the bills of lading and the date and signature of the carrier’s official acknowledging receipt on board of the goods for shipment Should also be indicated on the bill of lading. Quantities, weight and values should agree with those shown on the commercial invoice. The importer should specify the number of bills of lading required. Two copies of the airway bill are required for air cargo shipments. 
Packing list: A packing list is recommended in order to expedite clearance at the port of entry. The list should include shipping marks and numbers in order to facilitate the identification of each package and its contents. 

All these information must correspond to those written on the commercial invoices and on the packing.

Any Arab consulate except for the Egyptian consulate may handle consular legalization.

3-2 Exports regulations: 

Export licenses are required for halieutic products, timber, hides and skins and agricultural products. 

The following documents are required for exports:

Health certificate: A health certificate issued by the appropriate government department in the country of Export is required for imported foodstuffs. An official certificate, legalized in the country of origin by the Libyan or other Islamic Embassy stating that the meat was slaughtered in accordance with Islamic (sharia) laws must accompany imports of slaughtered animals and birds. 
Shipping restrictions: Letters of credit are not to be opened for import purposes until after banks in Libya receive from importers marine insurance documents issued by one of the insurance companies registered in Libya and quoted on a CFR basis. The concerned companies are Al Mukhtar Insurance CO. And Libyan Insurance CO. Shipments of cement and building materials are no longer received in Tripoli. 
Plant quarantine certificate: A plant quarantine certificate must accompany all shipments of plants or plant products. 
Insecticides: Insecticides may be imported only with a permit obtained from the Secretariat of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform’s plant Protection Department.  

3-3 Other formalities and documents: 

Bona fide samples of no commercial value may be admitted duty-free. Exhibition samples in fairs are admitted duty-free. Printed advertising matter is dutiable. Only Arabic script may be used in Libya for all names of shops and buildings, as well as for display signs, posters, tickets, and cards.

Businessmen are not allowed to carry trade samples with them into Libya. Samples should be consigned to an agent.

Standards and special formalities: 
Libya is member of the African Regional Organization for Standardization, which harmonizes standards for member states. 


Standards specifications are essential for all imported food products and processed foodstuffs according to a notice from the Council for Nutrition Affairs and maritime Wealth. The standards must be registered with the proper authorities in Libya. The notice also specifies that the date of manufacture and especially the expiry date and storage and preservation conditions should be indicated in Arabic on the packaging. Trademarks should be shown clearly.

Fresh egg imports must be stamped with the name of the exporting company and with the name of the country of origin and the date of production.

Pork and products containing pork fat are prohibited for import; exporters may be requested to supply analyses of the products to verify that the latter do not contain any prohibited imported products.

Labeling and marking: Goods and containers should be labeled and marked clearly to facilitate accurate identification of the items listed on the bill of lading and on the packing list. It is recommended that that packages show the name of the consignee and the port from which they are being shipped. It is advisable that labels attached to goods be printed in Arabic. 
Packing: Goods should be packed adequately so as to withstand rough handling, pilferage, and bad weather conditions. 


4-1 Banking system:  

The State Bank is called the Central Bank of Libya, which issues currency and administers exchange control. 

In addition to the Central Bank, the banking system is made up of six (6) State deposit banks and of two specialized banks. Foreign banks are not allowed to open branches in Libya and the other banking and financial systems are controlled by the Central Bank. 

The main banks in Libya are as follows: Agricultural Bank, Jamahiriya Bank, Libyan Arab Foreign Bank, National Commercial Bank SAL, Sahara Bank, Savings and Real Estate Investment Bank, Umma Bank SAL and Wahda Bank.

4-2. Exchange system 

The exchange control is carried out by the Central Bank of Libya. 

Free foreign currency import is subject to declaration but the Export of foreign currency is limited to the amount declared on import. The import and Export of local currency is prohibited. 

Credit cards such as Diners Club and Visa are subject to a limited acceptance. The use of traveler’s checks is common. 

4-3. Methods and means for international settlement: 

Exchange permits required for imports are readily granted by the authorized banks following the Central Bank approval provided that there is a firm contract and an import license has been obtained from the Secretariat for the Economy, Trade and Economic Planning. And if the import is to be made on a letter of credit basis, a marine insurance policy from a local insurance company must be submitted before the letter of credit is established. 

No letter of credit may be opened by an authorized bank without an advance deposit of at least 20% of the value of the imported goods. Importers must present to the bank granting the exchange permit, a customs declaration confirming clearance and stating the valuation within two months of customs clearance.


The Libyan customs tariff uses the Customs Co-operation Council Nomenclature (CCCN).

5-1 Applicable duties and taxes: 

Imports from all countries are subject to the same rate of duty. Goods originating in Arab countries may be exempted from duty if the Arab content is in excess of 40%. 

Imports of intermediate goods used in Export industries may be subject to duty and tax refund if the goods so produced are re-exported within one year from the date of the importation of the raw materials.

Import duties are payable in Libyan Dinar. Foreign currencies are converted at the official rate of exchange.

The applicable taxes and duties are the following

Specific duties: Dutiable weight is the gross weight of the goods; 
Ad valorem duties: most duties are charged on an ad valorem basis. The dutiable value is the value of the goods delivered to the port of entry including costs of freight, insurance, commissions, landing charges, and other expenses; 
Preferential duties: there are preferential between Libya and the following countries: Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Mauritania, The State of Palestine, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. 

Libya is also member of the Arab Common Market, which provides in principle for the removal of all customs duties on agricultural, animal, and natural resources commodities. 

Trade between Libya and the AMU countries is duty-free. Maghreban countries have provided for a customs union, a free trade area, a single market and the free movement of citizens;

Customs surcharges and indirect taxes: imports are subject to customs surcharges totaling 10% of the applicable customs duty. According to Libyan customs law, a countervailing tax must be imposed on imported goods subsidized by the exporting country and on any goods that compete with Libyan products.

5-2. Special provisions: 

All other goods except for medicine, milk, meat, insecticides, petroleum products, tobacco, gold and nine other essential food items may be imported by either public or private entities within the provisions of the annual commodity budget. Private individuals are allowed to import goods on the commodity budget list up to a maximum value of 3,000 LD from Arab countries.


6-1 International transport: 

Maritime transport: The main ports are: Tripoli, Benghazi Mersa Brega, and sider, Misurate. A port is being developed in Darana. Goods transit by Tunisia through Sfax and Gabes ports to Libya. A car ferry sails regularly from Tripoli to Malta and several Italian ports. Other Italian lines sail from Genoa and Naples to Tripoli and Benghazi. 
Air transport: Libya’s national airline is Jamahiriya Libyan Arab Airlines (LN). Tripoli International Airport (TIP) is 35 km south of the city. Benina International Airport (BEN) is 29 km from Benghazi City centre. There are other airports such as Sebha (Sebha) which is 11 km from the town and Misurata Airport. 

The international air embargo has suspended international transports by plane.

Land transport: *Railways: There is no rail system in Libya. *Road: The main roads lead to Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, Chad and Egypt. At national level the Libyan airlines ensure air transport between Tripoli, Benghazi, Sebha, Al Bayda, Mersa Brega, Tobruk, Misurata, Ghadames, and Al Khufrah. They also offer an hourly shuttle between Tripoli and Benghazi. The main roads are Al Qaddahia - Sebha, Sebha - Ghat, Tripoli - Sebha, Agedabia- Al Khufrah, Garian – Jeffren, Tarhuona – Homs, Mersa Susa – Ras Hilal, Derna and Tobrouk –Jaghoub. 

6-2 Telecommunications: 

Telecommunications services such as the and telephone cover the whole country and facilitate trade transactions at ports level.

6-3 distribution system:  

Governmental agencies only can choose commercial agents and importing agents for foreign companies. The distribution system is traditional. 


Organizations and public establishments



Export Promotion Board. 

Trade Information Centre
Zawiat El Dahmani P.O.Box. 3593 Tripoli. Tel : (21821) 4442640 

Telex: 20179-20180 Iqtisad ly 

Fax : (21821) 4446438
Federation of Libyan Chambers of Commerce and Industry 26, Bandong street P.O.Box. 3473 Tripoli Tel : (21821) 4441457 

Telex: 2046 ly
National Oil Corporation P.O.Box. 2655 Tripoli Tel : (21821) 46180 

Telex: 61508
Central bank of Libya P.O.Box. 1103 Tripoli Tel : (21821) 33591 

Telex: 20196