Newsletter November 2018

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Chamber News and Recent Activities

Meeting with Egyptian Minister Dr. Sahar Nasr

16 October 2018

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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.

 

Seminar: “Perspectives économiques : la Tunisie, terre d’avenir, hub pour l’Afrique”

24 October 2018

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The Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce partnered with the Embassy of Tunisia, FIPA Tunisia (Foreign Investment Promotion Agency) and the Province of Namur in organizing a business forum entitled “Perspectives économiques : la Tunisie terre d'avenir hub pour l'Afrique” on Wednesday 24 October in Namur.

After the welcome words of Mr. Berger, President of CWFFA, Mr. Denis Mathen,  the governor of Namur, and HE Ben Mosbah, new Ambassador of Tunisia in Brussels, the audience was informed about the legal framework for investments in Tunisia along with the funding and support tools available. An interactive panel gave the opportunity to share experiences with Belgian companies already present in the country.

Before joining a networking lunch offered by the Embassy of Tunisia in Brussels, Mr. Qaisar Hijazin, Secretary-General of the ABLCC, delivered the closing remarks of the forum insisting on the importance of developing a win-win partnership.

 

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

2 October 2018

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

On 2 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 the economic sectors you have in mind is essential.

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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. SGS is very familiar with the Arab world.

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 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 negotiations 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 occasion for our Belgian friends to obtain detailed answers to their specific questions about doing business in Egypt and in the 6 Gulf countries. Much appreciated.

 

Lunch conference with HEM Mohamed Issa Abushahaba
UAE-Ambassador at the EU in Brussels

03 July 2018

On the occasion of its last Board meeting and Assembly General, the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce found it opportune to organize a Lunch-conference on "Opportunity and Investment: Deepening the UAE's Economic Partnerships".

And who better than the Ambassador of the UAE himself, His Excellency Mohamed Issa ABUSHAHAB, could give us a more valuable insight on the matter?

During his presentation, Ambassador Abushahab explained that “enabling business to thrive is a key motivator in the UAE”. Adding that the UAE’s stable and strong economic context is characterized by flexibility and diversity, and that they are constantly reforming their commercial legislative landscape to ensure it is at the forefront of global institutional excellence.

HE Abushahab underlined the fact that The UAE is ranked 21st globally by the World Bank (WB) for ease of doing business, and 17th in terms of global competitiveness. Recalling that the UAE is unparalleled in terms of its regional and global connectivity. “We are a leader in the global logistics index, excelling in international shipments, customs, infrastructure, and timeliness”.

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He then continued his analysis by giving the audience further insights on UAE's Vision 2021 and Expo 2020.

He also drew attention to the fact that EXPO 2020, for which more than 170 countries have confirmed their participation, will act as a unique gateway to the Middle East, also targeting vital markets in Africa and South Asia.

This event was also a great occasion for the participants to meet face-to-face with His Excellency Abushahab and to expand their network as it gathered together distinguished guests from the Arab world (such as the Secretary General of the Union of Arab Chambers), Arab Ambassadors, Belgian agencies for foreign trade, representatives from the Belgian and Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Federation of Belgian Chambers of Commerce, the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, and Belgian and Luxembourg Enterprises.

www.economy.gov.ae
 

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