5th edition, 2014

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Chamber News and Recent Activities

Doing Business with Arab Countries: Theory & Practice

25 September 2014

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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. Aamar 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.

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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.

Visit of a Palestinian Delegation

01 October 2014

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The Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce and Palestine Trade Center - PalTrade - conducted a roundtable Session on Wednesday 01 October 2014 in the premises of the Chamber.

The main objective of the roundtable discussion was to gather concerned parties in order to address the National Export Strategy of Palestine as well as the challenges facing Palestinian trade.

The following key issues were identified to be discussed at the roundtable discussion:

  • How to improve market access for Palestinian goods into the Belgian Market
  • Provide assistance to Palestinian businesses
  • Evaluating joint ventures and networking between Belgian and Palestinian businesses and associations

In the course of the debate, representatives of the Palestine Trade Center, the Palestinian Ministry of National Economy, the Palestinian Businessmen Association, the Business Women Forum, the Palestinian Investment Promotion Agency, and the Palestinian Market Development Programme presented the actual situation in Palestine along with accurate trade figures.

Furthermore, all Palestinian and Belgian participants, present during the roundtable, discussed the potential of Belgo-Palestinian relations and agree to follow up on this matter. What is more, the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce expressed its will to host a Palestinian delegation in the course of 2015 in order to present Palestinian economy and to further explore partnerships.

In a nutshell, this gathering enabled participants from both sides to share experiences, promote dialogue, and consolidate key partner relations.

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