Commercial Attaché’s Meeting 2018

The Chamber hosted a meeting with the Commercial Attachés from the Arab Embassies in London on Tuesday 23rd October with the aim of discussing topics of mutual concern relating to bilateral trade and investment.  In attendance were commercial attaches and consular officials from the Arab Embassies in London.

Chairing the meeting, the Rt Hon Baroness Symons, Chairman of the ABCC, briefed the gathering on recent developments at the Chamber with regards the election of a new CEO. Baroness Symons explained the reasons for calling the meeting which were to improve cooperation between the ABCC and the Arab Embassies, especially the commercial departments, in coming weeks and months.

It was the intention of the Chamber to re-establish regular meetings with the Arab commercial officials to enable a much closer working relationship with clearer channels of communication to more easily address the business needs of each country.

In her opening remarks, Baroness Symons reflected on the continuing issues around Brexit and the likely implications of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union for business and trade with the Arab world, including possible changes to customs, duties and trade procedures.

Baroness Symons gave the floor to Mr Abdeslam El-Idrissi, whom she explained was effectively acting CEO under the title of “Acting General Manager”, until the formal appointment of a new chief executive.

Mr El-Idrissi delivered a presentation on the work of the Chamber and focused on its plans for the coming year including its scheduled programme of events.  He highlighted the importance of the ABCC’s export documentation known as “Arab Cert” which generated vital revenue for the Arab Embassies in London and for the Union of Arab Chambers.

He further outlined the numerous additional services provide by the Chamber such as visa, notary, translation, training and business research. Recent events organised and hosted by the Chamber had included a briefing on Brexit and an exhibition of Tunisian agricultural and food produce held in cooperation with the Tunisian Embassy.

Mr El-Idrissi highlighted forthcoming events such as the roundtable discussions with the Arab League Ambassador and the Moroccan Ambassador, the members’ networking reception and seminars on investment in Lebanon and Bahrain.

The Chamber’s flagship event of 2019 would be the Arab British Economic Summit to be held in July at the QEII Centre in Westminster. The commercial attaches were invited to cooperate in this conference and exhibition to showcase each of their country’s investment opportunities.

Discussion ranged widely on matters relating to Brexit and the possibility of future free trade agreements with the Arab countries; the growth potential of the creative industries; young entrepreneurs, the large Arab student population in the UK and the role of the Chamber.