Activities of the Chamber
48 years of service
With over 48 years of service to Switzerland and the Arab world, CASCI – the Arab-Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industry – is the leading source of business information for most major Swiss companies as well as for decision makers operating in the Arab markets. Thanks to our close relationships with local and regional governments and business communities, our credibility makes us a reliable source of first-hand business news and information that has a direct impact on Swiss companies willing to invest in Arab countries.
Our activities, seminars, webinars, will bring together important government dignitaries and decision makers from the Arab region in an ideal platform for you to connect with senior executives of the most important companies and align your business objectives with the development plan of the Arab region.
Visit of the President to Oman, February 11-18, 2022
CASCI’s President, Mr. Jean-Paul Vulliety, was invited to Oman, from 11 to 18 February 2022, for an official visit.
This visit helped identify promising areas of business development and investment opportunities between Switzerland and Oman.
The Sultanate of Oman has developed its “Vision 2040”, along the following economic and commercial development goals:
- Logistics, in particular downstream logistics for food and fish
- Food security
- Healthcare and pharma, hospital management
- Industrial production/processing banking, project financing and financing mechanisms (including crowd funding, venture capital, etc.)
Our Chamber will monitor this very closely with the Oman Chamber of Commerce and the relevant ministries (in particular Economy and Trade. During these visits, our president had the pleasure to meet various personalities of the country, in particular the Chairman of the Omani Chamber of Commerce, the Minister of Trade, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and various private industry leaders with whom the Swiss industry should develop closer ties.
The importance of collaboration in the pharmaceutical industry, November 17th, 2021, Hilton Geneva Hotel & Conference Center.
Conference and International Business Networking Event by AICC
(Association of International Chambers of Commerce in Switzerland)
Our Chamber participated in the event organized by the Association of International Chambers (AICC), of which our Chamber is one of the founding Chambers.
The conference and international business networking event hosted Mr. Per Falk, CEO of ”Ferring Pharmaceuticals”, who introduced Ferring as a research-driven, specialty biopharmaceutical group committed to helping people build healthy families and live better lives.
He emphasized that Ferring is a leader in reproductive medicine and maternal health, as well as in the specialty areas of gastroenterology and urology.
He provided a presentation explaining how they have addressed inequalities, as well as the impact of the pandemic on their reproductive medicine output.
He also powerfully presented their expertise in pushing the boundaries of medical science to improve people’s lives. While maintaining their scientific approach and confidence in the power of research, they are moving into new areas of technology and biology, using recent breakthroughs in gene therapy and microbiome research.
The event attracted nearly 120 attendees, including 12 of our members
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development – 7th World Investment Forum, October 18-22th, 2021
In light of our past successful cooperation with UNCTAD, they invited our Chamber to co-organize the session dedicated to ”Talking Business: Middle East and North Africa” in cooperation with their division on investment and enterprise. We were able to provide prominent speakers representing the Arab private sector.
The session was organized, virtually, on October 20, 2021, and moderated by Ms. Maha El Masri, an investment policy expert. The panelists were:
* Mr. Ammar Kassab, Regional Governance Coordinator, African Development Bank.
* Mr. Ahmed Abdel-Hakam, Advisor, International Arbitration and Public International Law, Eversheds Sutherland LLP.
* Mr. Bahaa El Attar, Secretary General, Arab-Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The three speakers shared their experiences, and highlighted the forthcoming opportunities and challenges for companies in the Middle East and North Africa, and how their activities could contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Our Secretary General’s contribution was an overview of the key emerging challenges and investment opportunities in the region, especially in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and recovery.
The forum was a great success with 95 high-level events organized by UNCTAD in collaboration with 67 international institutions. It brought together some 8,000 participants and 300 high-level speakers, including 13 Heads of State and Government, 54 ministers, 24 heads of international organizations and 70 CEOs of multinationals, family businesses and financial institutions.
End of Summer Get-Together, September 6th, 2021
After this pandemic, our Chamber was happy to resume and organize again a networking “End of Summer GET-TOGETHER”!
Monday September 6 at 6:30 pm at Chez Fouad Restaurant in Geneva for a wonderful Lebanese food and wine tasting.
All members of the Executive Bureau of the Chamber were present and had the pleasure to welcome about 35 people from different companies (Japan Tobacco, FAB private Bank, Cercle dipomatique de Genève, etc) as well as several Ambassadors and representatives of the permanent Missions in Geneva (Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Jordan, Qatar, Egypt, Oman, etc) and several of our members.
Message from the President :
Presiding over a chamber of commerce and industry covering more than twenty countries – CASCI indeed covers twenty-two Arab countries and Switzerland – is quite a task in times when everyone can find on the internet almost everything he/she is looking for and even more!
CASCI, like other chambers of commerce, has not escaped this trend, which has forced us all to fundamentally rethink our position. If it has kept its historical role of legalizing commercial documents for the importation of goods, our Chamber has had to resolve to become over time more of a platform for “networking” and professional promotion of its members. Nevertheless, it still retains a strong diplomatic anchor, thanks to the active support of the embassies and consulates of our member states.
I would like to emphasize its vocation to promote business, trade and exchange of views between Switzerland and the Arab world and to enable contacts. Our goal is to connect the actors of the business community, to guide them, to facilitate their approaches and to open doors for them, thanks to the very high quality links and personal contacts we have been able to establish over the years. The recent pandemic crisis has demonstrated the importance of having a solid, simple, direct and effective relationship between the Arab countries and Switzerland.
Thank you for attending this evening’s first Networking event, which will be followed very soon by “Country Focus” events.
Jean-Paul Vulliety – President of Casci
Europe in 2021 , December 14, 2020
Our Chamber participated in the first webinar organized by the Association of International Chambers of Commerce (AICC) of which our chamber is a founding member. The event was an opportunity for 6 leaders from different sectors to present their expectations for the future development of the European economy.
The sectors covered were economy, environment and sustainability, food, health care, educational technology, and travel.
The event attracted nearly 350 participants, including several of our members.
Introduction of VAT in Oman , December 16, 2020
In cooperation with Ernst & Yong, our Chamber organized a webcast presenting the introduction of VAT in the Sultanate of Oman. During the virtual event, three experts from EY presented their views on different topics:
* Oman’s changing tax landscape.
* VAT update: new rules and what business need do to prepare for the implementation.
* Swiss perspective: how it works for Swiss companies operating in Oman, including the use of free trade agreements, the business model and compliance requirements.
The event attracted close to 60 participants, including many of our members, who are active on, or interested in, the Omani market.
4th Egypt Investment Forum, Cairo, March 2-3, 2019
Our Chamber was represented by our Secretary General.
The Forum attracted officials, ministers, businesspeople and investors from Egypt and Arab countries, as well as representatives of international financial organizations.
Issues discussed at the Forum included the free trade zone, investment opportunities in large size projects, the private sector’s views on economic policies, electricity and renewable energy projects, and Egyptian, Arab and African cooperation.
Switzerland-Oman Forum, Bern, April 29, 2019
The event was supported by Mr. Adolf Ogi, Honorary President of the Oman-Swiss Friendship Association (OSFA), and former Head of the Swiss Government. The Omani delegation included representatives from the Ministry of Tourism, the Omani Public Investment Authority “ITHRA”, the Oman Chamber of Commerce and the Duqm Free Trade Zone.
Discussions focused in particular on the GCC-Switzerland Free Trade Agreement and best practices for entering the Omani market in various sectors (e.g. financial services and renewable energy), as well as the huge cooperation potential of both countries in the fields of economy, industry, tourism and culture. The event ended with a reception hosted by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman.
The Arab economic Forum, Beirut, May 2-3, 2019
As every year, our Chamber participated in this event, which is traditionally organized in cooperation with the Union of Arab Chambers and other Arab institutions.
The Forum was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of Lebanon, and aimed at addressing the challenges of economic growth and reform, the role of banks and capital markets in supporting investment, the future of Arab youth, the investment climate and business opportunities in Arab countries, and the future of the Lebanese economy. The Forum provided an opportunity to obtain first-hand information on the economic challenges facing Arab countries and provided a platform to strengthen communication between business leaders and government officials.
Visit of the Secretary General of the Union of Arabs Chambers
At his initiative, Dr. Khaled Hanafi, Secretary General of the Union of Arab Chambers visited our Chamber on June 10-11 and October 11-12, 2019.
During his visit, we gave him a presentation of the Chamber and its members, as well as of the activities and services we offer to our members.
Dr. Hanafi expressed the Union’s interest in promoting communications with the international organizations based in Geneva, such as the World Trade Organization and other related organizations, in order to defend and advocate the position of the Arab private sector regarding the issues under negotiation in their meetings. He also proposed to study the possibility of organizing the Arab-Swiss Economic Forum which could host an Arab country as a guest of honor every year, with the aim of promoting Arab economies in Switzerland.
The Association of International Chambers of Commerce (AICC) International Business Networking Event, WTO, October 29, 2019
The Association of the International Chambers of Commerce was founded in Geneva on May 16, 2019, and has currently 12 founding members among the Swiss-Foreign Chambers, including our Chamber.
Its objective is to organize common events between all the International Chambers of Commerce based in French-speaking Switzerland with the participation of high-level speakers and guests.
In this context, the AICC organized its first international business networking event on October 29 at the WTO, with the exclusive participation and speech of Mr. Roberto Azevedo, Director General of the WTO.
As a keynote speaker, Mr. Azevedo highlighted some of the recent developments in global trade and how discussions among WTO members seek to respond to the changes in the business environment. He also highlighted the role of the Chambers of Commerce in bringing the voice of business to the trade debate.
The event attracted nearly 400 participants, with a strong participation and sponsorship of our members.
Chamber’s day 2019, Geneva, 26 November 2019
Upon the invitation of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services of Geneva (CCIG), our Chamber participated in the Chamber’s Day, organized on November 26 at the Hotel Kempinski in Geneva by the CCIG in partnership with the Chambers of French and Italian speaking Switzerland, and the Swiss China Chamber of Commerce.
The event included a village of Chambers, which offered an excellent opportunity to present their activities and practices. Our Chamber had a stand in the Chambers Village, presenting our publications and answering inquiries, as well as exchanging information with interested visitors.
25 Chambers and 30 speakers from the private and public sectors, as well as workshops offered a great experience to all participants.
The event concluded with the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services (CCIG) and the International Trade Centre (ITC).
Egypt Investment Forum, Cairo, February 3-4, 2018
Upon the invitation of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, our Chamber had the opportunity to participate in the 3rd Egyptian Investment Forum held in Cairo on 3 and 4 February 2018.
Several Egyptian Ministers presented the main strategies implemented for certain key economic sectors such as transportation, energy, housing and real estate. These are fields where input from, and cooperation with, the Swiss industry and commercial actors are highly regarded and expected.
Visit of Saudi Business delegation to Switzerland, March 12-16, 2018
Many CASCI members had the opportunity to meet with the business delegation, while the Secretary General of CASCI participated in the meetings as our official representative.
The Saudi delegation activities started with a meeting of the Saudi Swiss Business Council in Zurich, during which they also met with members of the Swiss Business Association Saudi Arabia (SBASA) as well as representatives of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the State Secretariat for International Finance (SIF), and Swiss Global Enterprises (S-GE). The Saudi delegation presented the investment opportunities available in their country, as well as a success story by representatives of ARAMCO.
Their program continued with two forums in Zurich and Geneva, where they made numerous presentations on economic developments and the new vision in Saudi Arabia.
We had a very fruitful and enriching roundtable discussion with their Saudi Partners for trade and investment in both countries.
Meeting of the joint Swiss-Saudi Economic Committee, Bern, September 12, 2018
Upon the invitation of SECO, CASCI’s Secretary General participated in a group of representatives of the Swiss private sector, joining the official Swiss delegation in this meeting, chaired by H.E. Ambassador Erwin Bollinger, Head of Bilateral Economic Relations at the SECO.
Both sides reviewed bilateral trade, economic, and financial relations. The Swiss Business Hub has helped Swiss SMEs do Business in the Saudi market, while Swiss investments in Saudi Arabia exceeded 900 million Swiss francs in 2016.
The Saudi delegation was led by Mr. Ibrahim Al Omar, Governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), who gave a presentation on the Economic Plan under the vision 2030. They explained various economic reforms, including providing opportunities for women to participate in economic activities, removing barriers to customs clearance, facilitating the issuance of visas for foreign business people, and improving the legal system to resolve trade disputes. The session concluded with bilateral meetings between private sector representatives from both sides, including members from our Chamber, where they discussed possibilities for future cooperation.
Sultanat of Oman Economic Seminar, Geneva, October 17, 2017
In cooperation with the Ambassador of Oman in Geneva, and the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services (CCIG), our Chamber organized the “Oman Economic Seminar” on October 17, 2017 at Hotel President Wilson, Geneva.
Welcome speeches were delivered by our Secretary General as well as the Deputy Director of Geneva Chamber (CCIG).
The opening speech was given by H.E. Abdulla Nasser Al Rahbi, Ambassador of Oman in Geneva, followed by an interesting presentation by the representatives of lthraa, a governmental agency, regarding business and investment in Oman. This was followed by informative presentations of investment opportunities in the Port of Duqm, as well as in the Oil and Chemical industries.
We had 50 Swiss participants who engaged in meetings with the Omani Delegation at the end of the Seminar.
Visit of a SECO official delegation to Egypt, December 11-15, 2017
Upon the invitation of SECO, our Chamber participated in the delegation headed by state Secretary Marie-Gabrielle lneichen-Fleisch, which visited Cairo from 11 to 15 December 2017.
Thanks to an exciting program, which was very well prepared by the Swiss Ambassador in Cairo, we had the opportunity to meet with the Acting Prime Minister, as well as with Ministers of Finance, Trade & Industry and Investment and the Governor of the Central Bank.
These meetings were unique opportunities to get familiar with the economic reform program and investment opportunities in the Egyptian economy, and to keep abreast of the status and development of the economic and trade relations between Egypt and Switzerland.
We had a very fruitful and enriching roundtable discussion with the managers of Swiss companies active in Egypt, including ABB, HERO, NESTLE, SIKA and JULIUS BÄR.
On the last day, we visited a couple of projects, which have partially benefitted from a Swiss funding (SIFEM, CIRA, Badr University), as well as a blood bank project.
The closing ceremony was dedicated to the signing of the Cooperation Strategy 2017-2020 between the two countries with a global budget of CHF 86 Million, signed by Secretary of State Marie-Gabrielle lneichen-Fleisch, and Dr. Sahar Nasr Minister of Investment in Egypt.
Visit of a SECO official delegation to Egypt, December 11-15, 2017
Upon the invitation of SECO, our Chamber participated in the delegation headed by state Secretary Marie-Gabrielle lneichen-Fleisch, which visited Cairo from 11 to 15 December 2017.
Visit of CASCI’s Secretary General to Beirut, December 17-20, 2017
CASCI’s Secretary General had very fruitful discussions in Beirut from 17 to 20 December 2017, in particular with Dr. Khaled Hanafi, former Minister of the Egyptian Government and newly elected Secretary General of the Union of Arab Chambers. Among the various topics contemplated, a particular weight was given to the promotion of trade and economic relations between Switzerland and the Arab world and the various ways to make Arab institutions benefit from the Swiss experience in various economic sectors such as energy, environment and healthcare.
40th Annual General Meeting at Park Hyatt Zurich, January 19, 2015.
Guest of Honour and Speaker :
Amabassador Livia Leu, Head of the Bilateral Economic Relations Division, SECO
Ms. Myret Zaki, Editor in chief, Bilan Magazine
Swiss-Arab Wealth Management Forum 2014, Wednesday, 3rd April 2014, Kempinski Hotel, Geneva.
Swiss-Arab Wealth Management Forum 2013
Held in Geneva 10th April, at grand Hotel Kempinski
Our 38th Annual General Meeting, April 12, 2012, at 4.00 pm. at the Intercontinental Hotel, Geneva
With as guest of Honor and Speaker: Mr. Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, Head, Middle East and North Africa Program, Geneva Center for Security Policy Visiting Professor, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies / Geneva.
Topic: “After the Arab Spring: Challenges and Opportunities for the Arab World and its Partners”.
Our 37th Annual General Meeting, May 5, 2011, at 4.30 pm. at the Intercontinental Hotel, Geneva
With as guest of honor and speaker: Mr. Nicolas SARKIS, Director General, Arab Petroleum Research Center, Paris.
Topic: “Are the Arab revolts and the Fukushima disaster reshaping the world energy outlook? “
Meeting with the Council of Arab Ambassadors in Switzerland (April 19, 2011 )
Visit of the President and the Secretary General to Gulf countries, November 12-17, 2011
Mr. Werner Oberli, our President and Mr. Bahaa El Attar, our Secretary General visited the Kingdom of Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, the State of Qatar and the State of Kuwait between November 12 and 17, 2011, a visit that was widely covered by the local media.
The visit helped identify promising areas of business development and investment opportunities for Swiss companies in the GCC countries.
During these visits, they had the pleasure of meeting the presidents of the chambers of commerce of this countries.
Numerous discussions took place in the fields of tourism, education and the proposal to organize an “Arab-Swiss Economic Forum in Geneva” in June 2012, with Bahrain as guest of honor.
In Dubai our President and our Secretary General have been invited by Mr. Walter Deplazes, Consul General of Switzerland, to a business launch. Meantime, our Board member Mr. Chris Watts kindly hosted a dinner, which constituted an opportunity to discuss ways of cooperation with representatives from the “Swiss Business Hub”, as well as from the “Swiss Business Council” and to have meeting with representatives of Swiss companies working their.
Another interesting meeting was held with the presence of the Swiss Ambassador to the U.A.E Dr. Wolfgang Amadeus Bruelhart with Mr. Abdulla Al Saleh, Under Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Trade, in order to strengthen cooperation between Switzerland and the U.A.E. Mr. Al Saleh presented the ongoing efforts by the Emirati Government to diversify the foreign trade structure and increase the portion of the non-oil sector, highlighting the success of the U.A.E in becoming one of the most important hubs for re-export in the Gulf. He also indicated that U.A.E will ratify the Free Trade Agreement concluded between Switzerland and GCC Countries in the near future.
On the other hand the Emiratis plan to send business delegation to Europe in the second quarter of the next year, and looking forward to include Switzerland within the program of this mission. Meantime they expressed interest in our proposal to hold the “Arab-Swiss Economic Forum” during the second half of 2012.
It is worth mentioning that Switzerland is one of the top ten trading partners of the U.A.E and is one of exporting markets.
On the other side, during their visit to Qatar Chamber of Commerce, our President and our Secretary General have met Mr. Mohammed Al Kuwari, Vice Chairman of the Chamber and his team to discuss cooperation proposals, especially the proposal to organise the “Arab-Swiss Economic Forum” during the second half of 2012.
They have been informed of the high Government engagement in the investment process, with a budget of $300 billion to promote Qatar as an important hub for business in the Gulf.
In view of the well known reputation of the Swiss technology and the huge investment projects in Qatar, the Qataris invite SMEs and other export industries to invest in Qatar.
Finally, during their visit to Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry, our President and our Secretary General were first received by Mr. Abdulaziz Al Khaldi, Under Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, who praised the importance of Kuwaiti Swiss relations and stressed their desire to establish a joint Government Committee, as a potential frame to discuss promotion of trade and economic relations between the two countries. He highlighted the possibility of concluding a tourism agreement in view of the importance of Kuwaiti tourism in Switzerland.
Mr. Khalidi has pointed out the facilities provided to foreign investors in Kuwait, where foreign companies are exempt from taxes by 100% during the first ten years, while the tax rate is only 15% afterwards.
Meantime he welcomed our proposal to invite Kuwait as the Guest of Honour to the planned “Arab-Swiss Economic Forum” next year.
The meeting at the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce was highly organized by the member of Kuwaiti Chamber Board of Directors and our Board Member and Vice President Mr. Osama Al Nisf, and has attracted the participation of 15 Kuwaiti companies. Our President and our Secretary General have discussed cooperation proposals between the two Chambers, especially our proposal to organize the “Arab-Swiss Economic Forum”, which are welcomed by the Kuwaiti side, who expressed high interest in promoting trade and exchange of business delegations, and they welcomed our proposal to invite Kuwait as the Guest of Honour to the “Arab-Swiss Economic Forum” next year. Nevertheless, Kuwaitis expressed their concern of the high value of the Swiss Franc.
Meantime it was upon the kind invitation for a dinner hosted by H.E. Mr. Etienne Thevoz, Swiss Ambassador in Kuwait, our President and our Secretary General have been able to meet with business community dealing with Switzerland.
Our 36th Annual General Meeting, 14.04.2010, at the Intercontinental Hotel, Geneva.
The Chamber discussed cooperation with Ajman Chamber of Commerce, May 6, 2010
Meeting of a delegation from Ajman Chamber of Commerce with Mr. Bahaa El Attar, Secretary General of the Arab-Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CASCI) in Geneva.
The Ajman Chamber delegation was conducted by H.E. Nassir Al Dhifri, Deputy Director General of Media and Corporate Communication Sector, accompanied by H.E. Mohammed Al Janahi, Deputy Director of Key Services Sector at Ajman Chamber, and Mrs. Sheikha Al Nuaimi, International Relations Officer at Ajman Chamber.
The visit allowed to identify promising areas of business development and investment opportunities in the Arab countries.
L’Egypte, un diamant brut.
Business opportunities in a growing Egypt. Prospective trip to Egypt for SMEs. October 13, 2010, Zurich, Convention Point (neue Börse Zürich).
Redesign your business for breakthrough results; lessons from high-growth markets.
December 2nd 2010, Le Richemond Hotel, Geneva.