Libya: The Government of National Accord Takes Aim at French and Other European Firms

May 9, 2019 | 21:23 GMT

The Libyan civil war had already greatly complicated business operations for foreign companies, which have long had to deal with risks stemming from fighting among the country's powerful militias and from jihadist attacks. Now, firms must also worry about which of the country's two governments their home country backs. On May 9, the economy minister of the U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), based in Tripoli, announced that his ministry is suspending the operations of 40 companies including Total, Thales, Siemens, Petrofac and Alcatel-Lucent (now owned by Nokia), because their business licenses had expired and not been renewed. The concentration of French companies on the list, which also included some Egyptian and other regional companies and firms from other European countries, and the fact that Total was the only company on the list with significant operations in the country, suggest that the directive targeted France, specifically, for political reasons. ...

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