Arab-Belgian Diplomatic Business Lunch

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Your Excellencies, we are fully aware of the large number of engagements that occupy your agendas and we deeply appreciate the importance you accord to the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce and its members by your presence here today”.
Qaisar Hijazin, Secretary General of the ABLCC

It has now been 10 years since the first edition of the now renowned « Arab-Belgian Diplomatic Business meeting » organized by the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, in close relation with the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Linklaters, on Tuesday 29 January 2019.

On the strength of its increasingly wide reputation, this highly prized event gathered more than 140 participants with top-level personalities!

The ABLCC had the honour to welcome HE Riad SALAME, Gouvernor of the Banque du Liban and HE Raoul DELCORDE, Ambassador and Director Middle-East North Africa, FPS Foreign Affairs, as guest speakers.

HE Raoul Delcorde gave us a comprehensive and up-to-date overview about matters of greatest importance for Belgium in the Middle East and North Africa.

HE Riad Salame expended on the situation in the MENA region and the challenges faced by lebanon in this context.

Among the prestigious personalities were also: HE Cecile Jodogne, State Secretary of the Brussels-Capital Region, in charge of Foreign Trade, and HE Raed Charafeddine, first Vice-Governor of the Banque du Liban.

The ABLCC was also particularly delighted to welcome 24 Arab and Belgian Ambassadors.

On the Belgian side we welcomed:

  • HE Pierre GILLON, Ambassador of Belgium in ALGERIA
  • HE Sibille DE CARTIER D’YVES, Ambassador of Belgium in EGYPT
  • HE Hendrik VAN DE VELDE, Ambassador of Belgium in JORDAN & IRAQ
  • HE Piet HEIRBAUT, Ambassador of Belgium in KUWAIT & BAHRAIN
  • HE Hubert COOREMAN, Ambassador of Belgium in LEBANON
  • HE Marc TRENTESEAU, Ambassador of Belgium in MOROCCO & MAURITANIA
  • Mrs. Danielle HAVEN, Consul General in PALESTINE
  • HE Bart DE GROOF, Ambassador of Belgium in Qatar
  • HE Dominique MINEUR, Ambassador of Belgium in SAUDI ARABIA
  • HE Michel-Etienne TILEMANS, Ambassador of Belgium in TUNISIA & LIBYA
  • HE Peter CLAES, Ambassador of Belgium in the UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

On the Arab side we welcomed:

  • HE Najeem AL-ABRI, Ambassador of Oman, Dean of the Arab diplomatic Corps
  • HE Abdulrahman S. ALAHMED, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia
  • HE Dr Yousef BATAINEH, Ambassador of Jordan to Belgium
  • HE Dr. Mutrif Siddig Ali NIMMERY, Ambassador of Sudan to Belgium
  • HE Dr Bahiya Jawad ALJESHI, Ambassador of Bahrain to Belgium
  • HE Jasem Mohamed AL BUDAIWI, Ambassador Kuwait to Belgium
  • HE Mohamed Taha MUSTAFA, Ambassador of Yemen to Belgium
  • HE Mohamed AMEUR, Ambassador of Morocco to Belgium
  • HE Mohamed Issa ABUSHAHAB, Ambassador of United Arab Emirates to Belgium
  • HE Abdulrahman Bin Suleiman AL-KHULAIFI, Ambassador of Qatar to Belgium
  • HE Fadi HAJALI, Ambassador of Lebanon to Belgium
  • HE Khaled EL BAKLY, Ambassador of Egypt to Belgium
  • HE Mohamed Ridha BEN MOSBAH, Ambassador of Tunisia to Belgium
  • HE Abdalrahman ALFARRA, Ambassador of Palestine to Belgium
  • Mr. Nureddin MAZEN, Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Embassy of Libya
  • Dr. Fadil Abdul Hussein AL RAHIM, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Embassy of Iraq

Through this gathering, the ABLCC aims at shedding light on the importance of Arab-Belgian relations whilst contributing accurate and up-to-date information on the various developments in the Arab-world thanks to the expertise and unique insight of their distinguished guests.

The walking lunch format - for which the ABLCC opted - presented a good opportunity for the participants to discuss in person with BELGIAN and ARAB AMBASSADORS, to develop business relations, and to lay the foundation for future collaboration.

As usual, this was a successful event and we are looking forward to the next edition!

ABLCC Gala Dinner - in presence of HRH Princess Astrid of Belgium

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ABLCC Gala Dinner Princess Astrid 2

On Friday 07 December 2018, the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce celebrated its landmark 40th anniversary with a sumptuous Gala Dinner attended by more than 170 invited guests.

This 40th anniversary was an exceptional event graced with the gracious presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium.

Among the distinguished guests were:

  • HE Didier Reynders, Federal Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs
  • HE Cécile Jodogne, Secretary of State for Foreign Trade & Investment for the Brussels-Capital Region and Minister of the French Community Commission in charge of Civil Service and Health Policy
  • HE Mohammed Abdo Saeed, Chairman of the Union of Arab Chambers
  • HE Dr. Khaled Hanafy, Secretary General of the Union of Arab Chambers
  • All Arab Ambassadors in Belgium

Mr. Johan Beerlandt, Chairman of the ABLCC, who officially opened this celebration, underlined the evolution of relations between Belgium and the Arab world which is the 7th economic partner of Belgium with a level of exchange reaching more than €19 billion in 2017. Likewise, he pointed out that the level of exchange between Luxembourg and the Arab world has more than doubled in the past 15 years.

ABLCC Gala Dinner Princess Astrid opt

Then, the two guest speakers, HE Didier Reynders, Federal Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, and HE Dr Khaled Hanafy, Secretary General of the Union of Arab Chambers, took the floor in turn and praised the valuable contribution of the ABLCC in building stronger trade and economic relations between Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Arab world.

After these very positive speeches, all invitees enjoyed a small film tracing the history of the ABLCC from its creation till nowadays.

The celebration of the 40th anniversary of the ABLCC was also a good opportunity to give recognition to some important people, for their precious and continuous support to the ABLCC, during an Award Ceremony presented by HE Mohammed Abdo Saeed, new Chairman of the Union of Arab Chambers, and Mr. Qaisar Hijazin, Secretary General of the ABLCC.

Some lucky invitees then had the chance to win plane tickets generously offered by Mr. Jean-Pierre Martin, Country Manager Belux at Emirates, and Mr. Raouf Khelil, General Manager Benelux at Tunisair, during a prize-giving ceremony.

To conclude this memorable event, Mr. Qaisar Hijazin, Secretary General of the ABLCC, conveyed his special gratitude to Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium for honouring the ABLCC with Her gracious presence on the occasion of this landmark anniversary. "This is a sign of recognition of our endeavours to build bridges between our nations and it encourages us in our determination to go on carrying out our Mission", he said.

 Private meeting Princess Astid opt

He then thanked the Arab Ambassadors, all present on this occasion, for their trust and active contribution in the activities of the ABLCC. He also thanked the Union of Arab Chambers as well as joint Arab Chambers, who travelled especially for this celebration, for their continuous encouragements and the successful collaboration over the years.

Finally, he underlined the fruitful collaboration with Belgian and Luxembourg official bodies which is of key importance.

Last but not least, he concluded by saying that "tonight’s celebration would not be possible without the wonderful support of all our members, friends, partners, and our very generous sponsors"!

Meeting with Egyptian Minister Dr. Sahar Nasr

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Egyptian Minister Sahar Nasr
Fltr: Ms. Edith STEIN, Mr. Ramadan HEGAZY,H.E. Khaled EL BAKLY, H.E. Dr. Sahar NASR, Mr. Qaisar HIJAZIN

Egyptian Minister of Investment Sahar Nasr’s European Tour is a success. On Tuesday October 16th, the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, in close collaboration with the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce and the Egyptian Embassy, organized a Round Table on the occasion of the visit to Luxembourg of H.E. Dr. Sahar Nasr, Egyptian Minister for Investment and International Cooperation. For Dr. Nasr, who met with 20 Luxembourg companies, it was the start of a European investment tour.

“Recently, Egypt has adopted an ambitious economic stimulus plan encompassing a number of national megaprojects such as the construction of the New Administrative Capital, a world-class free zone and trade hub along the banks of the newly-expanded Suez Canal, and the largest solar site in Africa. With all these projects among many others, the Egyptian market continues to be the leading market in the region offering unprecedented opportunities capturing the attention of the international investors”, stated Minister Nasr.

There are a number of sectors that are promising both for Luxembourg and Egyptian companies such as ICT, film business, the start-up sector, renewable energy, green bonds and logistics. Luxembourg and Egypt decided to establish a joint committee for economic, technical, and investment cooperation.

The European Investment Bank (EIB), situated in Luxembourg, signed an agreement with the Egyptian government for 214 million euro to support the Kitchener Drain depollution project. This initiative will improve the sanitation and solid waste services for about 6 million people in the Nile delta region (north Egypt). As Minister Sahar Nasr toured in Europe, we learned that the World Bank (WB) has pledged 3 billion dollars for infrastructure projects in the Sinai peninsula - a direct result of negotiations between Egypt’s investment Minister and the WB.

Today, Egypt and the European Union signed agreements for comprehensive growth and job creation, and to combat the challenges of migration in Egypt, with a total value of 135 million euro. The first agreement should allow “to carry out reforms to reduce the burden on the small and medium entreprises (sme’s) sector by facilitating its access to long-term financing as well as facilitating business relations and fostering innovation among sme entrepreneurs”, said Minister Nasr. The program will support seven projects in 15 Egyptian governorates.

To learn more about the investment opportunities in Egypt, please consult the website of Invest in Egypt, Belgian and Luxembourg companies with questions about business projects in Egypt can contact the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (ABLCC) via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

9th edition of the seminar « Doing Business with Arab Countries »

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Doing Business with Arab Countries SGS 2018

Belgian companies are motivated to expand their business activities in the Arab world

On 02 October 2018, many Belgian companies gathered in Antwerp in the offices of SGS to share business practices with a fine selection of Arab and Belgian experts, chambers of commerce, enterprises and diplomats. Yes, the Arab world is confronted with a lot of challenges but is still fully recognized as a rewarding environment for investments in the global economy.

Mr. Qaisar HIJAZIN, Secretary-General of the Arab Belgian Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (ABLCC), was proud to welcome numerous big and small companies from very different economic sectors, and representatives from Arab embassies present in Brussels, the capital of Europe. He was glad to see that Belgian companies are really motivated to take part to this yearly tradition called “Doing Business with Arab Countries : Theory and Practice”.

Mr. Yahya Elwathik BELLAH, Minister Plenipotentiary - Commercial Office at the Embassy of Egypt, gave an overview of the multiple economic reforms realized by the Egyptian government. Doing business in Egypt is now easier than in the past, as confirmed by different international and financial institutions. The construction of a new capital 15km from Cairo, the activities around the Suez Canal, the creation of economic zones and the revision and simplification of the economic legislation creates numerous opportunities for companies.

And what about the Gulf ? Mr. Houssam Nasrawin, CEO of investment and advisory firm GDC partners, is active in the region from his office in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates - UAE). The countries in this part of the Arab world are investing in new economic sectors now that the price of oil continues its downward trend. Belgian and Luxembourg companies active in finance, distribution, infrastructure, tourism, etc. are advised to keep this in mind. But don’t think you will automatically be successful in the Gulf because you are great in Belgium, Luxembourg or Europe : being well prepared for meetings with your Arab counterparts and really knowing the country and sectors you have in mind is essential.

Doing buiness with arab countries 2018

If you export products to Saudi-Arabia, the biggest country in the Gulf, you have to be aware of the legislation when it comes to conformity of your products. Thanks to a conference-call broadcasted during the seminar, Eng. Wajih Bin Muhamad MUNSHI from SASO (Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organisation) explained the ins and outs of the requirements.

Mr. Jozef SOMERS, Operation Manager of SGS (a partner of ABLCC, active in inspection, verification, testing and certification) explained the services his company can deliver along with the Web-based Innovations made by SGS.

Time for discussion and debate

Mrs. Evelien Staelens, Area Manager Middle East & North Africa at FIT (Flanders Investment & Trade) moderated a debate with three Belgian companies successful in the various Arab countries. Mrs. Monique LEMPEREUR (Continental Carbon – industrial rubber and carbon), Mr. Hendrik VAN PASSEL (Medic Clean Air – medical devices) and Mr. Malik BOUKEBBOUS (DEME – dredging, infra marine solutions, etc.) talked about their experiences in the Arab world. They do agree that doing business in Arab countries is very fascinating. They will continue to work in the region and are motivated to expand their businesses overseas. And yes, they advise other Belgian companies not to forget this region of the world so close to Europe. But, of course, as a Belgian and Luxembourg company you have to understand the cultural differences between Europe and the MENA-region (Middle East and North Africa) and do your homework. Be well prepared before starting negotiation with Arab governments and enterprises.

Before joining an excellent buffet, the companies present at the seminar in Antwerp had the opportunity to join workshops with Mr. BELLAH (Embassy of Egypt) and Mr. NASRAWIN (GDC Partners). This was an excellent opportunity for our Belgian friends to obtain more detailed answers to their specific questions about doing business in Egypt and in the 6 Gulf countries. Much appreciated.

Do not hesitate to contact the ABLCC if you would like to receive the PowerPoint presentations of this successful Antwerp seminar.

The Arab Belgian Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (ABLCC) in Brussels continues to inform and support companies from the Flemish, Brussels and Walloon region with their business plans for all the Arab countries. If you have any questions about exporting to an Arab country, don’t hesitate to send us an email via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

تطور العلاقات العربية الأوروبية بين الطموح والتردد

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العلاقات بين العالم العربي والاتحاد الأوروبي علاقات تجارية وثقافية وسياسية واقتصادية تمتد جذورها في عمق التاريخ كونهما جاران متلاصقان يقعان على ضفتي البحر الأبيض المتوسط الذي يفصل بينهما ويجمعهما في آن واحد، وقد مرا عبر الزمن بفترات ازدهرت فيها العلاقات والمبادلات بينهما كما مرا بفترات صعبة إذا ما صح التعبير.

وبما أن الطرفان يرتبطان بمجموعة واسعة من المصالح المشتركة فمن البديهي أن تعزيز العلاقات بينهما في جميع المجالات هو مسألة ذات أولوية لكل من الاتحاد الأوروبي والعالم العربي. ومن المعروف أن العالم العربي يمد أوروبا بموارد الطاقة، بينما تقوم أوروبا بدور هام في تلبية الاحتياجات العربية للمشاريع التنموية ومن مختلف السلع المستوردة.

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