On 12 February 2017, HEM Pieter de Crem, Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, escorted by a 35-member Delegation involving no less than 17 Belgian companies from the three Regions of Belgium and Luxembourg, landed in Dubai in the framework of a Multisectorial Economic Mission to the UAE.
Important Belgian Companies such as Besix, Tractebel, whose name are known all around the UAE, joined this economic mission leaded by the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce with the support of FIT, BIE, AWEX, the Federation of Belgian Chambers of Commerce, the Embassy of Belgium in the UAE. One must not forget that thanks to their wide range of connections and expertise such companies help put the Belgian potential firmly on the map and thus open up the market for other entrepreneurs.
“This trade mission enables us to further strengthen our contacts, to discuss ideas and opportunities and to deepen our ties” HEM Pieter de Crem
It is thus no surprise that the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, benefitting from its extensive network and priviledge position in the Arab World, took the initiative to bring Belgian companies to explore the UAE market and to go beyond the commonly explored Emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The Belgian Delegation also got the unique opportunity to get to know more less explored Emirates such as Sharjah, Ras Al-Khaima and Fujairah, which are offering a real potential for SMEs.
For some companies such Derbigum, manufacturer of building materials, House & Garden, manufacturer of outdoor furniture, this was an opportunity to establish new contacts outside the major commercial centers.
For other companies, such as the Brussels IT company Ad Infinitium Bi, or the Electrical Panels Installations Company P&I bvba , as well as for Advensys Conseil, a Luxembourg accounting and fund investment firm, this was a first introduction to the UAE.
This Mission was a real opportunity for us to optimaly explore the UAE market for the first time. We gained knowledge in a short period of time. It was a really rewarding experience as we could establish relations within the UAE. But also, another quite important point, is that this mission established a strong relationship between members of the Delegation and we could benefit from the experience and advice from other companies within the Delegation. Finally, the presence of Minister de Crem, combined to the extended network of the ABLCC, was a significant added value as it gave us more credibility and opened-up unexpected doors.
The UAE, which counts 3500 Belgians living and working there, is by far the most important trading partner of Belgium in the Arab world.