visit UAE and Qatar
Discussions will focus on bilateral investment and economic cooperation
A delegation from the private sector will begin a visit on Saturday to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to meet senior officials from the public and private sectors, in these countries.
“It is a clear message for Gulf countries that the private sector is very keen on having the best relationships between Lebanon and their countries,” said Mohammed Choucair, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount Lebanon (CCIA-BML).
The Gulf Cooperation Council countries host more than 500,000 Lebanese expatriates, according to CCIA-BML figures. Remittances are estimated at $8 billion per year, including $4 billion from Saudi Arabia alone, $2.6 billion from the remaining Gulf countries, and $1.4 billion from the rest of the world. Ninety percent of local Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) belong to Gulf investors.
“The visit has many economic objectives, including enhancing cooperation between the private sectors of both parties and setting a common vision for future cooperation in the form of real partnership in many fields,” said Choucair.
The delegation will include representatives from the CCIA-BML, the Beirut Traders Association (BTA), the Lebanese Franchise Association (LFA), the Association of Lebanese Industrialists (ALI), and selected businesspeople.
“We are looking at this visit to attract Gulf tourists again,” said BTA's Chairman Nicolas Chammas. “The absence of GCC citizens has hit the trade and retail sectors hard, in the last three years. They proved they were an essential component for the growth of the local commercial cycle,” he said. Chammas also said that “Lebanon's economic situation is better than other regional countries and has to be granted a second chance by Gulf countries.”
“The delegation will be checking Lebanese businessmen’s needs in Qatar and will be visiting Qatar's chamber of commerce to develop bilateral relationships with Lebanon,” said Jacques Sarraf, Chairman of Malia Group. “In UAE, we look to encourage bilateral investments, as well as linking Lebanese expatriates living in Africa and other parts of the world with UAE investors for investment projects,” he said. The presence of Lebanese banks abroad is an added value for such bilateral investments, he said.
Reported by Leila Rahbani
Date Posted: May 15, 2015