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Doing business with Arab countries: theory and practice

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Doing business with arab countries

It is important for Companies which are doing Business in the Arab world, or willing to do so, to acquire current and detailed information from experienced professionals.

The Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce is well aware of this. This is the reason why, on 25 September, 2014, it has organized, in partnership with SGS, its fifth seminar “Doing Business with Arab countries: theory and practice”.

This Seminar endeavoured to enable participants to grasp the complex realities that lie behind the various changes undergone by the Arab world by providing more than just business figures. This was done in a most comprehensive way, by giving the floor to experts who draw their expertise from every day experience working in the field as well as experts who approach the matter from a theoretical angle.

After a welcome note of Mr. Jozef Somers, Operations Manager at SGS, and Mr. Qaisar Hijazin, Secretary General of the ABLCC, Mr. Mathieu Ryckewaert, Public Affairs Senior Manager at Besix, presented an overview of the past and future relations between Belgium and Arab countries. On behalf of Mr. Ghassan Ejjeh, Vice-Chairman of Besix, Mr. Ryckewaert underlined that economic and social development in the Arab world is a key to successful relations between Europe and Arab countries. Europe should thus provide its support for the next generation.

Mr. Ammar Naamani, CEO at Coprabel S.A., launched into a detailed explanation of “Unconventional marketing for consumer products in Saudi Arabia: Gap between theory and reality”. He talked about his day-to-day experience of doing business in Saudi Arabia and related some anecdotes.

Mrs. Gulay Avci, Head of Turkey Liaison Office for Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone, introduced the United Arab Emirates and provided the participants with all necessary information to set up a business in Ras al Khaimah one of the fastest-growing and most cost-effective free trade zones in the United Arab Emirates with interesting opportunities for business people from Belgium and Luxembourg.

After a short break, Mr. Hijazin gave the floor to Mrs. Evelien Staelens, Area Manager Middle East & North Africa for Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) - the Flemish agency for International Entrepreneurship. Mrs. Staelens presented trade relations between Belgium and Arab countries as well as the various services provided by FIT to support companies doing business with the Arab world.

Mr. Wijnand Molijn, Business Development Director at Robema for Emirates Logitics, gave the participants an example of partnership between Belgium and the Middle East / Gulf.

Before starting a question and answer session, Mr. Peter van Blanckenberg, Marketing and sales Representative at SGS, discussed “Product Conformity Assessment in Arab Countries”. To bring this interesting seminar to an end, the participants were invited to take part to a networking buffet in presence of Arab Economic Attachés.

The conclusion that can be drawn from all this is that the Arab world cannot be reduced to only one aspect and that despite its recent transformation, major opportunities remain.

Presentation by Mr. Mathieu Ryckewaert
Presentation by Mr. Aamar Naamani
Presentation by Mrs. Gulay Avci
Presentation by Mrs. Evelien Staelens
Presentation by Mr. Wijnand Molijn

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