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Newsletter Winter 2019

Newsletter Winter 2019 - Activities of the Chamber

Activities of the Chamber

Meeting with the New Ambassador of Saudi Arabia and Reception

The Secretary General of the ABLCC, Mr. Qaisir Hijazin, visited the new Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, H.E. Dr. Khalid Al Jindan.

The agenda included remarks on the importance of the relations between the two Kingdoms, given the volumes of trade they have reached in the last years. Indeed, Belgium imported for an amount of nearly 4 billion EUR, positioning KSA as its first rank trade partner. In terms of export, Belgian exports to KSA amounted to 1,6 billion EUR, positioning KSA as its second export partner.

The new Ambassador, who presented credentials to H.M. King Philippe of Belgium on the 3rd of December 2020, expressed his will to pursue in this direction and his interest in organizing, in collaboration with the ABLCC, the visit of a Saudi delegation to Belgium.

The Royal Saudi Embassy and the Chamber enjoys an outstanding relationship and already work together in the framework of visa and legalization services provided by the ABLCC.


Business Forum "Kuwait 2035" with a High-level Delegation from Kuwait

On the occasion of the first Belgium-Kuwait Joint Economic Committee meeting in Brussels, the ABLCC organised, in close collaboration with the Embassy of Kuwait, a business forum focused on Kuwait's diversification and the subsequent opportunities of partnership between Belgium, Luxembourg and Kuwait. The event offered particularly enriching and fruitful interactions between Belgian, Luxembourg and Arab participants from all sectors and levels.

Particularly fruitful interactions between Belux and Arab business communities

The seminar was moderated by Mr. Qaisar Hijazin (Secretary General of the ABLCC) and opened by H.E. Raoul Delcorde (Director Middle East & Africa at the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and H.E. Ms. Amal Al-Hamad (Kuwait Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs) and held in the presence of the Arab ambassadors in Brussels. The conclusion and a presentation of the new international airport was given by H.E. Jasem Al-Budaiwi (Ambassador of Kuwait to Belgium, Luxembourg, UE and NATO). While the Delegation, per se, was comprised of senior representatives from major government institutions; ABLCC Board members from all over the Arab world attended the event too, as the BoD meeting took place the day before in Brussels. Over fifty percent of the speakers were women; a noteworthy fact that was praised by the participants.

Towards new opportunities

Kuwait is reaffirming its position of business hub, multiplying opportunities and increasing GDP. Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister and the Ambassador presented the special efforts placed by the government in the framework of Kuwait 2035, to open and diversify economy, give more importance to the private sector, boost job creation and ensure a more stable and sustainable growth. Such reforms are facilitated by the good financial situation of Kuwait, its low debt and its strong banking sector made it easier to implement such measures, when with other major oil-producers in the world.

Relationship between Belgium and Luxembourg

H.E. Ms. Amal Al-Hamad remarked that Belgium and Kuwait have enjoyed a strong and historical relationship that goes back to 1964, when Belgium was one of the first states to open an embassy in Kuwait. She added that both sides have been engaged ever since in extensive and fruitful discussions to enhance economic and trade relations and stressed that, the trade balance between the two countries increased from 204M € in 2017 to 220M € in 2018. It was an occasion for SG Mr. Qaisar Hijazin to congratulate Q8’s CEO Mr. Fadel Al-Faraj for representing the best example of a Kuwaiti business doing business in Belgium and Luxembourg with high success and thank him for his support to the Chamber.

Future perspective

H.E. Dr. Raoul Delcorde, on his part, expressed his optimism regarding the future of relations between Belgium and Kuwait, stressing that besides the increasing economic interactions between the two countries, there is still room for more opportunities. Indeed, H.E. Ms. Anick Van Calster (Director General for Bilateral Affairs at the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and H.E. Ms. Amal Al-Hamad already announced that another meeting would be organised next year. Within the same framework, Ms. Wafa Al-Qatami (head of the Kuwait CCI) and the ABLCC agreed upon the organization of the visit of a business delegation from Kuwait, representing, this time, the private sector.


ABLCC Board of Directors Meeting - November 2019

ABLCC's Board of Directors convened on 19 November 2019 in Brussels.

It was an occasion for the Board members from both Belgian-Luxembourg and Arab sides to meet and exchange on the latest economic developments, but also for the Secretary General to present the past and upcoming activities of the ABLCC.

Since the last BoD meeting in June 2019, the Chamber organised numerous events, including an important business forum with a high-level delegation from Oman in September and its annual seminar "Doing Business with Arab Contries", which this year, was focused on Digitalization & Innovation.


Visit of a Business Delegation from Palestine - PalClusters

Representatives from different Palestinian clusters (Stone & Marble, Hebron Leather & Shoes, Salfit House Furniture) visited the Chamber on 28 November.

Three representatives of Palestinian clusters - Mr. Abdulrahman Sawayfeh (Palestinian Stone & Marble Cluster), Eng. Mohammed Husian (Hebron Leather and Shoes Cluster) and Mr. Khalid Mahboubah (Salfit House - Furniture Cluster) - visited the ABLCC on 28 November.

The main goal of the visit is to meet potential partners and explore the opportunities of collaboration with Belgian actors. Indeed, the Palestinian clusters are already fully developed and seek to go international.

The discussion included, among others, the possibilities of organising a B2B session with Palestinian and Belgian companies, connecting the clusters with Fair Trade networks and adhering companies as well as the idea of organizing a trade mission from Palestine to Belgium or the other way around, in collaboration with the commercial attachés.

The ABLCC is pleased to take part in the promotion of business relationships between Palestine and Belgium and truly believes in the success of this initiative.


10th Doing Business with Arab Countries - Digitalization & Innovation

The 10th "Doing Business with Arab Countries" took place on 2 October 2019 in the premises of SGS in Antwerp.

This 10th edition was focused on the question of digitalization and innovation, a question that is in most of business agendas. Indeed, it has become evident that digital technologies are leaving no geographic region, business sector or civilization untouched; and this is also the case for the Arab world.

We have seen that digital transformation does not only consist of the integration of digital technology into everyday life, but also in the transformation of the way we live, and in consequence, the way we produce, consume, trade and do business with each other. Digital transformation is challenging, but also offers a fertile ground for innovation, and the speakers did not fail to share the taste of it.

After Mr. Fadel Al Faraj, Managing Director of Q8 Northwest Europe presented the Q8's reaction to digitalization and its subsequent transformation, Mr. Nicolas Debray came with a more theoretical approach to digital transformation and addressed the issue of digitalization in the world of SME's. BESIX, too, delivered presented its approach to digital technologies with Mssrs. Ayman Chalak (Business Development International) and Juan Nolet (BIM).

Finally, three Belgian companies - Medicor, CJ-ICM and Settlemint - shared their experience in doing business with Arab countries and addressed the question of digital issues, in a panel, which was moderated by our partner Ms. Evelien Staelens, Area Manager at the Flanders Investment & Trade Agency.



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