Past Events

Dr. Khaled Hanafi, Secretary General of the Union of Arab Chambers

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This week, the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce has had the honour to welcome Dr. Khaled HANAFI, new Secretary General of the Union of Arab Chambers.

Mr. Hanafi, who took part to the Board meeting of the ABLCC and to the subsequent Lunch-conference with the Ambassador of the UAE as Guest of Honour, stressed the need to bring about a change in the relations between Arab countries and the EU: the EU could be considered a major partner of the Arab Region.

In this sense, Dr. Hanafi took advantage of his visit to Belgium to meet with Mr. Michael A. KÖHLER, Director Neighbourhood, Directorate -General for Development Cooperation at the European Commission.

He also explained that one should not simply consider the access to the number of citizens in the Arab Region but also and more importantly the access to more than 2 billion citizens based on trade agreements.

Last but not least, Dr. Hanafi underscored the need to shift from traditional trade and investments to strategic economic partnerships.

Multisectoral Economic Mission Jordan/Lebanon

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The Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, together with Hub Brussels, AWEX, and the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, organized a Multisectoral Economic Mission to Jordan and Lebanon from 07 to 11 May 2018. No less than 20 Belgian & Luxembourg enterprises joined this Mission which started in Amman, Jordan.

Jordan is an emerging economy oriented towards services, open to foreign trade, and an important gateway to Iraq. Largely liberalized and privatized in the 2000s, Jordan's economic growth is expected to reach 2.5% by 2020. The "Jordan 2025" strategy, published in 2015, is the road map for the next ten years with $ 20 billion in planned investments.

As part of the Mission to Jordan, the organizers paid a visit to the Amman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Jordan’s oldest and largest chamber of commerce. There, the importance of strengthening bilateral ties between the three countries and exploring new potentialities was highlighted. The attention of the delegation was drawn to the fact that Jordan has a strategic position, especially for business with Iraq and the special economic zone of Aqaba, the only port of Jordan at the crossroad of four countries. The construction of a new convention and exhibition center on the road between Amman and the airport will position Jordan as a destination for business and commerce in the region. It was also noted that a workshop, organized with the support of the delegation, to inform Jordanian companies on the regulations to be respected for exporting to the EU would be welcomed. This workshop could take place in the framework of a visit to Brussels and Luxembourg by a Jordanian delegation end of 2018 or in 2019.

In the framework of this Mission, the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce arranged a meeting with H.E.M. Yarub Qudah, Jordanian Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply. H.E.M. Qudah reiterated the importance of Jordan's strategic position for the reconstruction of Iraq as it is indeed possible to export from Jordan to Iraq without paying customs duties. Likewise, the logistical airport in Mafraq could be used as a platform.

A lunch with Minister Pierre Gramegna, present in Jordan for the EBRD governor’s meeting, and a reception hosted by H.E.M. Henrik van de Velde, Ambassador of Belgium to Jordan, concluded the visit in Amman.

The next two days were spent in Lebanon and mainly focused on B2B meetings for the participating companies. Mr. Fouad Trad, D.G of Byblos bank and member of the board of directors of the ABLCC, acted as representative of the ABLCC in the Economic Mission to Lebanon.

Opened, french-speaking, and with very active private operators, the Lebanese market is particularly welcoming European products. It constitutes a springboard to the region's markets as well as to Africa. According to Moody's forecasts, GDP in Lebanon is expected to grow by almost 3% in 2018. Lebanon has many strategic advantages, including its geographical proximity to Syria, compared to other countries. 

H.E.M. Alex Lenaerts, Ambassador of Belgium to Lebanon, organized a reception that gathered some 100 local businesspersons.

In both countries, Mrs.Nada Abdulrahim, Belgian Economic and Commercial attaché, organized with care tailor-made business meetings with local companies and institutions for the participating companies.

Participants were impressed by the high-level of innovation and the desire of cooperation of local companies and were highly satisfied with the outcomes of this Economic Mission. Both countries are indeed in search of expertise in diverse sectors: energy, environment, finance, logistics, construction and infrastructure.

Tunisian Belgian Forum

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Mr. Bernard Gilliot President of FEB ( right), HE. Mr. Hichem Ben Ahmed, Mr. Secretary General Qaisar Hijazin (left)

On the 26th of April 2018, the ABLCC with the collaboration of Fipa and the Embassy of Tunisia in Brussels, organized a Tunisian-Belgian Networking Forum, that starts with the welcome speech of Mr. Qaisar Hijazin Secretary General, highlighting the Economic relations between Tunisia & Belgium from one side and Tunisia & EU from the other side,Tunisia is the first country on the southern shore of the Mediterranean to have signed an association and free trade agreement with the European Union

Furthermore, Mr. Bernard Gilliot Underlined that the Belgian private sector is therefore present for a long time and is determined to continue to invest in the Tunisian economic dynamism.

Bernard Gilliot, president of the FEB: "An example of a sector in Tunisia where we see a strong potential? That of the green economy. I understand that sustainable development is one of the pillars of the five-year national development plan "Tunisia 2020", presented in Tunis at the end of 2016. Belgium was present. The Tunisian authorities' ambition is, among other things, to increase the share of renewable energies in the country's energy consumption by 2% to 30% by 2030. The need for 'sustainable' infrastructure is therefore important. Belgium has many leading companies in this field. [...] My wish is that Belgian companies and investors can participate in a win - win way. "

Likewise, HE. Mr. Hichem Ben Ahmed, Secretary of State and Foreign Trade in Tunisia, presented the New Investment Law and its Orientations: Alignment with national objectives: from a low-cost economy to an economic hub in Tunisia, the law on renewable energies, the Law on Public Procurement, the law on public-private partnership, the law on tax incentives and the Economic Performance Premiums.

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Finally, HE. Mr. Pieter de Crem, secretary of State and Foreign Trade, Belgium shed the light on the many Belgian investments and regular bilateral visits that testify to the sound the good bilateral ties between Tunisia and Belgium, mentioning that Tunisia is working to continue its socio-economic development and boost foreign investment through the implementation of a new sustainable development strategy that is more in line with international development models. He underlined that Belgium is the 6th largest trading partner and 4th largest investor in Tunisia and that both countries are important gateways to Western Europe and North Africa respectively.

His Excellency closed the seminar based on the discussions of the interactive panel between various stakeholders of the business world.

The event counted more than 120 participants and important Belgian Companies, no surprise that the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, benefitting from its extensive network and privileged position in the Arab World, and took the initiative to bring Belgian companies to explore the opportunities in the Tunisian markets and the facilities of services and specially the security and the stability that dominate the country.

The event was marked by success and satisfaction of all the participants.

Bahrain Belgium Business & Networking Event

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Investment opportunities abound in areas as diverse as oil & gas, financial services, manufacturing, ICTs, Logistics, and the construction sector, just to mention a few.
Qaisar Hijazin, Secretary General of the ABLCC

On 15 May 2018, the ABLCC, in close collaboration with Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Embassy of Bahrain in Brussels, organized a Business Forum that have called  for closer trade economic links and cooperation between Bahrain and Belgium for the benefit of both countries. 

"Bahrain places great importance to its relation with Belgium, which has grown steadily over the years and we hope that today's event will become an annual fixture and enable us to consolidate our trade and economic relations", said HE. Dr. Bahiya Jawad Al-Jishi, Bahrain Ambassador to Belgium, in her introductory remarks. H.E. Al-Jishi called attention to the fact that Bahrain took the initiative to diversify its economy relying on its strategic location, competent national cadres, regulatory frameworks and legislation. She also referred to the recent discovery of significant reserves of oil and gaz estimated to hold 80 billion barrels of tight oil and between 10 to 20 trillion cubic feet of natural gaz, which will be an opportunity for international oil companies to invest in the country.

Mentionning Bahrain as a model of a successful trading hub, Mr. Qaisar Hijazin, Secretary General of the ABLCC, noted that Belgian exports to Bahrain have seen a 3% increase in 2017 ( from 82 million euros in 2016 to 84  million euros in 2017). And even better, in 2017, Belgian imports from Bahrain have seen a 58% increase, going from 81,000.00 EUR in 2016 to 129,000.00 EUR in 2017.

Professor Laurent Marliere, President of the Brussels Based Islamic Economic and Legal Advisory Firm (ISFIN), underlined that Bahrain is a leading fintech and start up hub, as well as a leading financial and Islamic Financial Body, and Administrative hub. He pointed up two incentives beneffitting businesses :

  • lower costs of Business
  • Easy entrance to Saudi Arabia

Simon Galpin, Managing Director EDB, Geert Hoevens, Country Director EDB, and Mahmood Daylami, Secretary General of the Gulf Aluminium Council, engage the audience's full attention by presenting the opportunities and facilities offered by Bharain to Foreign enterprises and businesses.

The event was attended by Belgian and European officials, accredited Ambassadors to Brussels, businesspersons from Belgium and Luxembourg and representatives from various economic sectors.

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