Entering into any foreign market can be tricky and Libya is no exception. While there are a number of opportunities in this market, there are also major challenges that need to be managed. Libya’s legal structure is multi-layered, and it’s banking infrastructure primitive. Libya’s physical infrastructure requires upgrading, and telecommunications services are far from world class. There are still very few modern office spaces available, and the few Western-class hotels are often filled to capacity. U.S. companies seeking to send representatives to Libya are advised to expect delays in obtaining Libyan visas, but the American Libyan Chamber of Commerce and Industry is arranging programs for member companies to receive expeditious handling and response for their visa requests.

In general, American products are well known and appreciated, including designer apparels, high-technology gadgetry, movies, software and other consumer products. Currently, most of these products enter Libya through third countries, but with the new regime in place, that will likely be superseded by direct access, provided that American companies can secure the appropriate Libyan partner with whom to work to arrange this direct access. Several years ago the U.S. Embassy’s Commercial Service and the U.S. Mission in Libya organized a very successful USA Pavilion at the Tripoli International Fair, which was visited by thousands of Libyans eager to learn about U.S. products and services. While this shows a very strong appetite for American products, U.S. forms need to be present in the market to fully tap this export potential. The American Libyan Chamber of Commerce and Industry offers a number of ways for U.S. firms to test the market for the products and services of dismembers companies, offering low cost but highly effective ways to reach the variety of Libyan companies that can successful represent them in the Libyan market

Libya is a diverse and challenging market requiring adaptability and persistence, careful planning and patience, in order to maximize success in what will very likely be the most attractive and profitable market in the Arab world. U.S. firms willing to invest time and effort to develop a solid market presence through their own efforts and with the assistance of groups like the American Libyan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, should expect to reap great future rewards.