Newsletter - 1st edition, 2010

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Chamber Activities

  • January 11th : Business workshop in cooperation with BECI and the participation of the Belgian Ambassadors in the Arab countries.
  • January 27th : Outsourcing in the Benelux : status, trends & top destinations for Nearshore Outsourcing : a seminar organised in cooperation with Morocco Economic Development Zones (MEDZ) under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and New Technologies.
  • February 4th : Energy Efficiency Workshop, an initiative in cooperation with BECI and the European Commission.
  • February 13th-16th : 10th Jeddah Economic Forum : the Chamber participated in the 10th edition of this most prestigious annual gathering in the Middle East, and focussing on “The Global Economy 2020”.
  • March 3rd : 13th Conference of Arab Businessmen and Investors in Damascus, Syria. The conference focused on investment conference-abi.jpgin Syria and the wide range of reforms that have been taking place in Syria for years through a framework that encourages initiative, innovation, partnerships and promotion of the role of the private sector. The country thus offers numerous opportunities for investors in energy, petroleum and minerals, finance and banking, agriculture, industry, transport, ICT, services, real estate and tourism. The Secretary General of the Chamber met the Syrian Vice Prime Minister on the sidelines of the conference and presented the detailed report on Syrian investment opportunities which was published by the Chamber on this occasion.
  • March 10th : Euro-Arab Tourism Forum, Berlin (Germany) : the Chamber had a key role in the organisation of this Forum which was held in cooperation with the European Commission and the Arab-German Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
    The Forum was an essential step to forge the Euro-Mediterranean cooperation in the field of tourism development. The Mediterranean area effectively represents a major international tourism destination and several Belgian and European companies are involved in the development of the tourism infrastructure in the region.
  • March 12th : Meeting with the Economic Attachés of the Arab Embassies, focussing on the cooperation between the Arab countries and the European Union.
  • March 17th : participation in the seminar organised by AWEX on the business opportunities in Algeria.
  • April 26th : Annual meeting of the Presidents, Vice Presidents and Secretaries General of the Joint Arab Chambers of Commerce in Beirut with the participation of the Vice President of the ABLCC Mr. Ahmad Al Suweidan and the Secretary General Qaisar Hijazin.
  • April 27th-28th : Forum on Arab Investment Encouragement & Export Enhancement organised by the General Union of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture for Arab countries in Beirut, Lebanon. The Secretary General of the ABLCC presented an extensive report on Belgian initiatives to encourage exports and the various initiatives aimed at export promotion. The report also detailed the government support in the field of technology transfer and the experiences with joint ventures between Belgian and Arab companies.
  • May 2nd : Aqaba Economic Forum : the Secretary General of the assisted the opening of this important forum held under Royal patronage and organised by the Jordan Chamber of Commerce. The meeting aimed to look at available investment opportunities in Jordan and the achievements of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA). Almost 400 participants also looked at plans to enhance the transportation and logistics sectors, the quality of education and investments in tourism, industry and trade.

Economic Mission to Oman and Qatar
April 10th-16th, 2010

The ABLCC successfully conducted an economic and commercial mission to the Sultanate of Oman and the State of Qatar from April 10-16th, 2010. The delegation was accompanied by H.E. Mr. Michel Lastschenko, Ambassador of Belgium for Oman, and H.E. Mr. Luc Devolder, Belgian Ambassador for Qatar, and composed of representatives from 16 companies working in various fields of activity.

The delegation had a meeting at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Oman to evaluate the means to further reinforce the economic and financial cooperation. The Chairman of the Chamber, Mr. Khalil bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Khonji, stressed the possibilities to develop the relations, especially in the field of energy (oil and gas), tourism, engineering and maritime projects. He highlighted the opportunities to develop large-scale projects such as aluminium refining and heavy industries based on oil and gas.

Oman is indeed actively pursuing an economic policy that focuses on diversification, industrialisation and privatisation with the objective of reducing the dependence on the oil sector (set to represent only 9% of GDP by 2020). The country is also keen to promote private foreign investments, especially in the fields of industry, information technology, tourism, health and education. The industrial development plans focus on gas resources, metal manufacturing, petrochemicals and the development of transhipment ports and facilities. Oman's medium-term prospects are favourable and supported by a positive outlook for energy prices, an attractive investment climate and an efficient business environment.

The members of the delegation furthermore were informed in detail on the investment opportunities in Oman and the initiatives of the Omani Centre for Investment Promotion and Export Development (OCEDI).

Last but not least, the visit to the Sultanate offered Port of Antwerp International the opportunity to sign an agreement to develop the Port of Duqm, a future hub for industry and trade. oman1.jpg

Belgian imports from Oman
(1,000 euros)

 TOTAL 3,481 20,593 14,515
 of which      
 22 Non classified - 1,222 11,054
 07 Plastic materials, rubber 152 1,172 2,290
 15 Base metals and articles 2,289 2,921 69
 05 Mineral products 604 14,511 -

Belgian exports to Oman
(1,000 euros)

 TOTAL 91,818 114,357 138,026
 of which      
 06 Chemical products 16,441 19,094 63,362
 15 Base metals and articles 11,218 11,387 30,144
 16 Machinery, electr. equip. 39,742 42,350 17,381
 17 Transport equipment 8,878 12,002 6,917
 18 Instruments 2,862 4,004 5,715

In the State of Qatar, the delegation had a meeting at the Chamber of Commerce under the chairmanship of HE Mohamed bin Ahmed bin Tawar, member of the Executive Board and with the participation of HE Mr. Luc Devolder, Ambassador of Belgium, and Mr. Mounif Khilani, Commercial attaché. Qatar is now the third largest Arab trade partner for Belgium and the signature of a cooperation agreement between the ABLCC and the Qatar Chamber of Commerce in 2008 led to a considerable increase in relations between both organisations. Speakers during the meeting also stressed the importance of the contract on the import of Qatari gas through Belgium, offering considerable perspectives for Belgium to become a major distribution centre for Qatari gas in Europe. The contract led to a significant increase in trade exchanges and a growing number of partnerships between Qatari and Belgian companies.

The delegation and their Qatari counterpart also focussed their discussions on the development of Islamic banking in Europe in the wake of the global financial crisis and the growing interest for the financial instruments offered by the Islamic banking institutions. Qatar is a very affluent and rapidly developing country. Endowed with around 14% of the world's proven reserves of natural gas, the country has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. The government has stepped up investment expenditure to broaden economic diversification, particularly in oil and gas-related petrochemicals, education, financial services and tourism. It is also creating an enabling environment for growth of small- and medium-sized enterprises and investor interest in the country is growing.

Oil and gas account for more than half the Gross Domestic Product, 85% of export earnings and 70% of government revenues. The two resources contribute in a significant matter in turning Qatar into the second highest per capita income country and one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

Belgian imports from Qatar
(1,000 euros)

 TOTAL 519,945 1,008,847 909,540
 of which      
 05 Mineral products 443,704 920,633 870,463
 07 Plastic materials, rubber 38,328 21,239 20,744
 06 Chemical products 34,737 65,985 14,525
 16 Machinery 626 331 2,653

Belgian exports to Qatar
(1,000 euros)

 TOTAL 261,683 320,856 336,634
 of which      
 16 Machinery 105,095 137,568 146,868
 15 Base metals & articles 58,062 45,094 68,983
 06 Chemical products 59,796 64,007 62,457
 07 Plastics 6,558 11,850 13,282
 20 Miscellaneous 4,707 7,343 9,011
 18 Instruments 4,575 12,669 7,879
 17 Transport equipm. 4,263 16,041 5,428

Upcoming Events

  • June 3rd : B2B contacts with Egyptian Businessmen, in cooperation with BECI.
  • June 9th : Board of Directors and General Assembly of the ABLCC. The Assembly will be followed by a conference during which H.E. Mr. Didier Reynders, Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Finances will speak on the Belgian Priorities for the European Presidency.
  • June 24th : Seminar on the occasion of the visit to Belgium of a delegation of Sudanese businessmen. 

Do not hesitate to contact the Chamber for additional information.

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