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.

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