Past Events

Seminar: Doing Business with Arab Countries: Theory & Practice

Print Email

Antwerp – 24 September 2013

seminar-sgs-ablcc 24-10-2013Fltr: Mr. Stephan Gys (Hamon), Mr. Frank Haak (BNP Paribas Fortis), Mr. Peter Van Blanckenberg (SGS), Mrs. Joyce Choukri (RAK FTZ) and Mr. Qaisar Hijazin (ABLCC)

When we take a look at the statistics, we learn that Belgian exports to the Arab world increased by more than 11% in 2012, a positive trend that continues into the first half of 2013, while Arab countries, on the other hand, are currently witnessing a decline in their exports to Belgium, which dropped by 8% compared to the first half of 2012.

But the seminar that was jointly organized by Business Solutions Provider SGS and the ABLCC on the 24th of September aimed to dig deeper than business figures. To enable participants to grasp the complex realities that lie behind these figures, and to provide them with the information that really matters for developing business strategies, SGS and the ABLCC invited an interesting panel of experts to shed light on a number of themes that carry particular importance when doing business with today’s Arab world. This was moreover done in a most comprehensive way, by giving the floor to both experts who draw their expertise from every day experience working in the field as well as to those who approach the matter from a theoretical angle.

An eminent speaker that belongs to the latter group is Professor Dr. Sami Zemni, Coordinator of the Middle East and North Africa Group at Ghent University. Having recently published a most interesting book entitled “The Middle East: the times they are a-changing”, Professor Zemni is very well-placed to discuss the prospects for business and economic developments in Arab countries. Focusing his presentation in particular on non-oil rich countries, Professor Zemni identified unemployment and youth, governmental policies, and the ongoing clash between economic elites, as elements that carry crucial importance with regard to the economic development in the region.

Mr. Frank Haak, Regional Manager for Trade Finance at BNP Paribas Fortis, discussed trade finance capabilities and provided participants with an outlook on the economy and banking system in the GCC. Those who have missed the most eloquent presentation of Mr. Haak, are welcome to consult it here.

Mrs. Joyce Choukri, Marketing Officer for Ras al Khaima Free Trade Zone (RAK FTZ) and a business woman steeped in the practicalities of doing business, presented one of the fastest-growing and most cost-effective free trade zones in the UAE with interesting opportunities for business people from Belgium and Luxembourg. Click here to learn more about RAK FTZ.

The Chamber recently had the great pleasure of welcoming Hamon, an international engineering and contracting company with a long history of activity in the Arab world among its members. As we feel that those who have a practical and day-to-day experience in the field are an extremely valuable source of practical knowledge about doing business in the Arab world, Mr. Stephan Gys, Logistics Manager of Dry Cooling Systems at Hamon, was invited to share his experiences with project development in the dry cooling sector in Saudi Arabia with the public. He focused more in particular on the procedure for obtaining Conformity Certificates from the Saudi Arabian Standards Organization. Learn more here.

Before inviting participants to engage in networking activities over a delicious buffet, Mr. Peter Van Blanckenberg, Marketing and Sales Representative here at SGS, discussed the topic of Product Conformity Assessment in the Arab countries. You can find the presentation of Mr. Van Blanckenberg here.

List of participants

ablcc logo en-ar  sgs-logo ablcc 

Our Sponsors

Besix BNP Paribas Fortis Q8

Credendo Group



John Cockerill

Tractebel Engie

Direct Way


The Hotel Brussels



Byblos Bank Europe  

Our Partners

UAC Logo 2016 1 1020x1024


logo BLCCA partner ablcc

logo chambre de commerce luxembourg beci logo ablcc Logo Entreprise Europe Network


logo league of arab states


hub rvb 1


FIT Endorserlogo