8th Edition of "Doing Business with Arab Countries"

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For the eighth consecutive year, the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce was delighted to welcome its members and friends in the beautiful premises of SGS in Antwerp, on Wednesday 04 October.

As highlighted by Mr. Qaisar HIJAZIN, Secretary General of the ABLCC, since the last edition in 2016, a great deal has happened in the Arab World, be it positive or sometimes less positive. However, despite of all this, Arab countries remain important markets and partners for Belgium.

Most Arab countries are willing to unleash the potential of their markets and are moving forward in this direction. Indeed, many of them implemented substantial measures to diversify and restructure their economies for the best. In this context, investment needs are high and opportunities are numerous in various fields such as infrastructure, healthcare, the service sector, transport and logistics, the IT sector and many more.

This year seminar, held under the theme “Doing Business with Arab Countries: Theory and Practice”, was a great opportunity for the participants to explore the potential offered by Arab Markets.

This was done in a most comprehensive way, by giving the floor to experts such as, Mr. Sébastien HARDY, Belgian Economic Attaché in Algeria, who let the attendees benefit from his on-site expertise in Algeria.

The ensuing question-time highlighted the two-way partnership between Algeria and Belgium, as Algeria is the only Arab Country exporting and importing for the same amount.

Mr. Jozef SOMERS, Operation Manager at SGS Belgium, and host of the event, gave an overview of the “conformity of products to the requirements set in Arab countries”.

After a short break, H.E. Mrs. Anick VAN CALSTER, Director General of Bilateral Affairs, FPS Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, who the Guest of honour of this seminar, made the audience more familiar with the role of Belgian diplomacy in promoting and supporting Belgian-Arab economic ties.

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After these theoretical aspects began the more practical side of this seminar! The attendees had the opportunity to take part to an interactive interview moderated by Mrs. Evelien STAELENS, Area Manager Middle East & North Africa at Flanders Investment and Trade.

Three managers of international companies active in the Arab World and more precisely in Algeria - Mr. Daniel DECKERS, Export Manager at Van Hool/ Mr. Johan PROOST, General Manager at Ipsen Logistics BVBA Belgium/ Mr. Jan L. SARENS, Group Equipment Trade Manager at Sarens Group – shared with the audience their success story, on-site expertise, and tips in doing business with Arab countries.

This interactive part of the Seminar has been highly appreciated by the attendees.

Last but not least, Mr. Robby DE SCHUTTER, Trade Finance Officer, KBC Bank NV, introduced various payment techniques to ensure the smooth functioning of international banking transactions.

After the seminar per see, and for the first time in the past 8th editions, the participants had the opportunity to meet face to face thanks to pre-organized B2B meetings with the Belgian Economic attaché in Algeria, Representatives from Arab Embassies, Mrs. Evelien Staelens from FIT, and other participants.

To bring this interesting seminar to a close, the participants were invited to relax and exchange their business cards during a networking buffet in presence of Arab Economic Attachés.

Roundtable Meeting: PalTrade and OXFAM Delegation

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On 28 September 2017, the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce was pleased to organize a roundtable meeting on the occasion of the visit of a Palestinian Delegation from PalTrade and OXFAM.

This was a good opportunity to learn more about the two organizations:

Palestine Trade Center (PalTrade), member of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) – Palestine, is a non-profit organization with a mandate to lead the development of Palestinian exports as a driving force for sustainable economic growth. It advocates a competitive, business enabling environment, and is dedicated to improving trade competitiveness.

OXFAM is an international organization working with communities and partners around the globe towards a world without poverty and with more economic justice.

On 28 August 2017, PalTrade and OXFAM launched the Sustainable Local Economic Development Strategy (SLED) for the Gaza Strip, in collaboration with all related national and international stakeholders.

This gathering also enabled participants from both sides to share experiences, promote dialogue, and discuss potential areas of cooperation in developing closer relations.

We look forward to further collaboration !

2nd Annual Iraqi – European Business and Investment Forum

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On 17-18 May 2017, the ABLCC participated in the “2nd Annual Iraqi – European Business & Investment Forum” organized by the Arab-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce & Development in Athens.

This “2nd Annual Iraqi-European Forum” was under the auspices of the President of Iraq, the Ministries of Economy and Development and of Foreign Affairs of Greece, the Union of Arab Chambers and the Federation of Iraqi Chambers of Commerce, with the contribution and support of Baghdad Chamber of Commerce along with the Representation of the European Commission in Greece, Al-Bilad Bank of Iraq and the Arab-European Joint Chambers as supporting organizations.

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The three sessions started with “Iraq’s Investment Opportunities”, which were presented by highlevel Iraqi speakers, followed by “Iraq’s Oil, Gas and Sustainable Energy Sectors” and the third session on “Potential for Infrastructure Projects in Iraq”, which was moderated by Mr. Qaisar Hijazin, Secretary General of the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce.

The last two sessions were presented by high-level Iraqi, Greek and European speakers, outlining the potential of these sectors in light of the fact that Iraq is heading towards a new era of security, stability and reconstruction.

It is worth mentioning that the participants in this Forum exceeded in number the ones in the previous Iraqi Forum that was held back in April 2016.

Economic Forum: The GCC, one of the World's fastest growing region...

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Rapidly growing economies, strategic location, new diversification plans, economic and political stability, primary destination for investors and entrepreneurs seeking to establish operations in the MENA Region… These are some of the many assets that make the GCC one of the best Economic and Trade Partners.

Given the multiple assets of GCC countries, the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce has decided to dedicate to the GCC market its traditional Economic Forum, organized for the 11th consecutive year on 10 May 2017 in BNP Paribas Fortis sumptuous premises.

To that purpose, the ABLCC invited an interesting panel of local and international experts to share insights, knowledge, and know-how with a view to give the audience all necessary tools to fully benefit from the advantages and opportunities offered by the GCC!

After a welcome note by Mr. Peter Pollaert, Head Cash Management and Global Trade Solutions at BNP Paribas Fortis, and Mr. Qaisar Hijazin, Secretary General of the ABLCC, Mr. Peter Young, Deputy Head of Unit, South Mediterranean and Middle East, DG Trade at the European Commission, Started the panel “Aspect of protocol and business practices in the GCC” inviting us to grasp the reality behind this year’s theme. Mr. Young gave the audience an overview of the strong trade relationship between the EU and the GCC, highlighting the fact that “the EU is GCC's first trading partner, accounting for 16.6% of GCC total trade”. The GCC is the fourth export market of the EU with 5.7% of its exports going to the GCC.

Mr. Fahad Al-Jaimaz, Counsellor at the Embassy of Kuwait, then took the floor to present the Biggest projects under the new development plan 2015-2020. “The State of Kuwait is currently in the midst of its second mega economic development plan, which includes investments of over USD 103 billion in projects related to oil, gas, electricity, water, housing, health, education, transport, communications, tourism, and the environment”.

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HEM Mohamed Issa Abushahab, Ambassador of the UAE, in turn, presented business opportunities in the UAE for Belgian and Luxembourg companies, pointing up to the fact that the EU was UAE's top trading partner in 2015 with a total trade value of USD 67 billion. “Strengthening trade relations, expanding Investments, and improving climate for doing business are UAE's trade objectives in a nutshell". He then made the audience more familiar with the Dubai 2020 event.

After a short film focusing on Bahrain and its blooming market, Mr. Nabil Jijakli, Deputy CEO at Credendo Group, gave the participants an International economic outlook and reviewed what would be the major risks for the future.

After these interesting presentations, the participants had the chance to take part to an interactive double interview “success stories and history of doing business in the GCC / Belgium / Luxembourg” moderated by Mr. Fouad Trad, CEO at Byblos Bank Europe. Mr. Trad skillfully guided through this interview Mr. Fadel Al Faraj, Managing Director at Kuwait Petroleum, and Mr. Ghassan Ejjeh, Senior Vice President at Besix. Both of them shared their success stories along with their perspective on doing business with Europe and the Arab world respectively.

Their well-founded observations along with their sound advice have been highly appreciated by the attendees.

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As usual, this Major event brought together decision makers, government officials, Arab Ambassadors accredited to Brussels, Arab diplomats, the ABLCC board members, Belgian Foreign Trade Agencies, business executives, investors, and professional organizations from Belgium, Luxembourg, the EU, and Arab countries and was once again a suitable place to meet and exchange on current issues without any taboos.

To complete such an interesting afternoon, the participants had the opportunity to establish contacts during a networking cocktail, which was an ideal opportunity to meet and exchange views with the various experts in a relaxed atmosphere.

You have missed this Major event and still want to learn more about GCC Countries or the presentations of the various speakers? Do not hesitate to get in touch with the ABLCC team This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. !

Seminar: Belgian Social Security System

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On 28 March 2017, the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Group S and Symbio, had the pleasure to invite Representatives of Arab Embassies in Belgium to a seminar on Social Security and health insurance at LE CHATELAIN BOUTIQUE HOTEL.

The event, with no less than 38 registered participants, proved very successful  and served as a first step to help attendees better understand the Belgian Social Security System thanks to leading experts in their field!

This event proved a success as the number of registrations outreached the initial target number of participants!We were even pleased to welcome guests from the State of Kuwait, who came especially to take part to this event!

After the Seminar, the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, Group S, and Symbio, cordially invited the attendees to share a meal, which was an ideal opportunity to meet and exchange views with the various experts in a relaxed atmosphere.


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