1st edition, 2016

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Chamber News and Recent Activities

UAE: Roundtable meeting with the Minister of National Economy, H.E.M. Sultan Bin Said Al-Mansouri

12 November 2015

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On the occasion of the visit of H.E.M. Sultan AL MANSOURI, Minister of National Economy of the UAE, the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Brussels, organized a meeting followed by a networking cocktail on Thursday 12 November 2015 in the premises Besix in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert.

Some of you have done business in the UAE. What are the challenges that you face? So I can take note of these issues and raise them once I am back in the UAE.

H.E.M. Sultan AL MANSOURI

The main objective of this meeting was to gather concerned parties in order to address bilateral trade exchange with the UAE, both at the European end Belgian level, to see how it can be improved, but also to promote dialogue between the participants and UAE officials.

Among others, the following subjects have been discussed:

  • Oil prices
  • Diversification of UAE economy away from oil (aviation, education, health, renewable energies, water, infrastructure, IT, airspace)
  • Syrian refugee crisis
  • Gender equality

Moreover, the participants had the opportunity to exchange views with H.E.M. Sultan AL MANSOURI as well as with other UAE officials such as H.E.M. Sulaiman Hamid Salem ALMAZROUI, Ambassador of the UAE to Brussels, and Dr. Ahmad Belhoul, CEO of Masdar.

To bring to an end this interesting meeting, the participants had the opportunity to establish contact during the networking cocktail.

10th Arab–Belgian–Luxembourg Economic Forum: “Creating new opportunities through partnership”

30 November 2015

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The traditional Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Economic Forum of the ABLCC, which has been organized for the 10th consecutive year on 30 November 2015 in BNP Paribas Fortis sumptuous premises, was once again a suitable place to meet and exchange on current issues without any taboos.

For the region to start again, trade as to live. Partnership is therefore very important.

Mr. Philippe Gijssels, Chief Strategic Officer - BNP Paribas Fortis

After a welcome note of Mr. Filip Dierckx, Vice-Chairman of the Executive Board BNP Paribas Fortis, and Mr. Ghassan Ejjeh, Senior Vice President at Besix Group and board member of the ABLCC, H.E.M. Rami Mortada, Lebanese Ambassador to Belgium, took to the floor inviting us to grasp the reality behind this year’s theme “creating new opportunities through partnership”. “Because challenges are so numerous, it is really time to look for opportunities and see how to face these challenges together”.

image023H.E. Mr. Pieter de Crem, Belgian Minister of Foreign Trade and keynote speaker of the Economic Forum underlined the fact that “the Arab nations can and do play an important role in [Belgian] trade relations”. He added that Belgian Economic Missions to the Arab World “showcase a high level of trust and help to strengthen the ties of friendship between our people, companies and leaders”.

The plenary session “The European Union – Arab World: Economic & Financial perspectives” provided the audience with an overview of new economic perspectives and was moderated by Mr. Fouad Trad, CEO at Byblos Bank Europe. The panelists included Mr. Nabil Jijakli, Deputy CEO at Credendo Group, who gave the audience a “World Economic and Geopolitical Outlook”; Mr. Philippe Gijssels, Chief Strategic Officer at BNP Paribas Fortis, who spoke about “the financial and economic risk in the Arab World”; Mr. Alain Verbeken, Tax Director at Deloitte Luxembourg, who introduced Luxembourg as “An attractive business ecosystem in the heart of Europe”; Mr. Sebastian Gerlach, Manager Business Development at Bahrein Economic Development Board, who made a presentation on “Bahrain - the financial services hub in the Gulf”.

The Forum ended with a question-answer session during which the potential impact of alternative energy cost competitiveness on oil prices was debated.

Last but not least, the participants had the opportunity to establish contacts during a networking cocktail, which brought the event to a close.

International Network Lunch: Algeria

17 December 2015

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Seeking to diversify and modernize the economy, Algerian government officials have actively sought to encourage non-hydrocarbon investment. Business men and women can therefore find substantial opportunities in Algeria. However, when considering to do business in Algeria, these entrepreneurs may wish to examine a certain number of issues.

To answer these questions, the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Brabant Wallon and Aïn El Kheir, have organized a roundtable session, followed by a networking breakfast, in presence of H.E.M. Amar BELANI, Ambassador of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria to the Kingdom of Belgium, on 17 December 2015 in Nivelles.

Among others, the following issues have been explored:

  • Highlighting of Belgian-Algerian relations
  • The Algerian government strategic vision. How to benefit from this?
  • The place of Algeria in the Arab World
  • The best strategy for achieving your goals
  • Capacity-building partnerships
  • Environmental sector
  • Water treatment
  • Rail sector
  • Awex in Algeria

In the session that ensued, Belgian companies operating in Algeria shared their business experience with the participants. While mentioning some of the difficulties encountered, all were unanimous on the importance of the Algerian market, as well as on short and long-term prospects.

Diplomatic Business Workshop

27 January 2016

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The now renowned « Diplomatic Business Workshop » organized for the 7th consecutive year by the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, with the support of the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Linklaters, was held on Wednesday 27 January 2016.

Through this workshop the ABLCC aims at contributing accurate and up-to-date information on the various developments in the Arab-world thanks to the on-the-ground expertise of our Belgian Ambassadors. Gathering more than 110 participants each year, the workshop sheds light on the importance of Arab-Belgian relations whilst playing a supporting role for Belgian companies, and conferring each of the participants a certain visibility and reputation with Belgian and Arab officials. What's more, this workshop also contributes to consider interesting initiatives for future action.

This BRAND NEW FORMULA, consisting in two panels of interactive discussions between a moderator, on the one hand, and the Ambassadors, on the other hand, has witnessed great success!

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The first panel, moderated by Mr. Nabil Jijakli, Group Deputy CEO and Member of the Executive Committee of Delcredere/Ducroire, gathered:

  • H.E. Mrs Dominique Mineur, Belgian Ambassador to the UAE
  • H.E. Mr. Christophe Payot, Belgian Ambassador to Qatar
  • H.E. Mr. Geert Criel, Belgian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Oman, & Yemen
  • H.E. Mr. Andy Detaille, Belgian Ambassador to Kuwait & Bahrain

The second panel, moderated by Mr. Fouad Trad, Managing Director & CEO of Byblos Bank Europe, brought together:

  • H.E. Mr. Hendrik Van de Velde, Belgian Ambassador to Jordan & Irak
  • H.E. Mr. Gilles Heyvaert, Belgian Ambassador to Egypt
  • H.E. Mr. Frédéric Meurice, Belgian Ambassador to Algeria
  • H.E. Mr. Frank Carruet, Belgian Ambassador to Morocco
  • H.E. Mr. Alex Lenaerts, Belgian Ambassador to Lebanon

The workshop dealt with, among other subjects, the drop in oil revenues, economic diversification, key economic sectors for Belgian investors, security issues, follow-up and positive impact of economic Missions, and much more.

The networking cocktail that ensued 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.

Workshop Meet Arab Economic Attachés and Belgian Foreign Trade Agencies

16 March 2016

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This March, the ABLCC has organized an event slightly different from what their members and friends are used to...

Indeed, on 16 March 2016, the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the three Regional Foreign Trade Agencies (AWEX, BIE, FIT), the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Arab Economic Attachés, invited the participants to examine the relationship between Belgium and Arab Countries, as well as to explore the various services that are made available to them in order to facilitate business with and from the Arab world.

The workshop entitled “Meet Arab Economic Attachés and Belgian Foreign Trade Agencies” was hosted in the premises of BECI, 500 Avenue Louise – 1050 Brussels.

The guest of honour of this gathering was Mr. Johan Verkammen, Director Middle East & North Africa at the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Participants also benefited from a presentation given by Mrs. Evelien Staelens, Area Middle East & North Africa at FIT, Mr. Dominique Delattre, Director Middle East & Africa at AWEX, and Mr. Ghislain Breydel, Project Manager Export Promotion at BIE, who presented their shared Agenda in and with the Arab world along with their specific regional economic characteristics.

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Last but not least, this event also welcomed 25 business representatives from an Iraqi Delegation that was on a 2-day visit to Belgium.

To close this gathering, the chamber offered the participants unparalleled networking opportunities during a cocktail bringing together, for the first time ever, representatives from the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the three Regional Foreign Trade Agencies, Arab Economic attachés, Belgian Economic Attachés in the Arab world on the one hand, and Iraqi and Belgian Business men and women on the other hand.

Participants walked away with greater insights and practical knowledge on what was at their disposal to carry out their projects in/with Arab countries as well as in Belgium.

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