Tripoli, 10 June:
The National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce (NUSACC) is on day five of a nine-day Greenfield Trade and Investment Mission . . .[restrict]to Libya and Tunisia. The first of its kind since the revolution, visits are being made to Tripoli, Benghazi and Misrata.
NUSACC regards itself as the voice of American business in the Arab world. This delegation is made up of 13 companies from 10 different American states, ranging from Fortune 500 firms to Small and Medium-size Enterprises, which between them generated 2011 revenues in excess of $250 billion. Their sectors include construction and engineering, transport, ICT, tourism, health and media and entertainment.
NUSACC has been seeking to foster a strong relationship with Libya, working with the Tripoli Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA) and the General Union of Libyan Chambers of Commerce. To date, senior officials have made eight separate visits to Libya and helped bring 100 American companies to Libya. This reports NUSACC, is more than any other business group from the U.S.
David Hamod, NUSACC Chief Executive Officer said “Libya and Tunisia represent important Greenfield markets for U.S. companies, which are in great demand here for their ability to transfer technology and knowledge.”
Hamod said that Libyan businesses showed “extraordinary and unprecedented” interest in doing business with American companies.
This reflected Libya’s appreciation of the efforts the U.S. had made to liberate the country from the old regime. American companies are optimistic that this goodwill may now open mutually beneficial business opportunities.
The new American Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, who arrived last month, said at a reception he threw, that the NUSACC delegation had received a warm welcome from Libyan business representatives, “who are eager to engage American businesses in a wide variety of sectors.”
NUSACC noted : “The Trade and Investment Mission comes at a time when both Libya and Tunisia have made impressive progress with regard to replacing decades of corruption and mismanagement with economic reform and sound governance following the Arab Spring. This is now a prime opportunity for business partnerships and job creation.”
While the US businessmen are in Libya, NUSACC officials in Washington have been welcoming deputy premier Mustafa AbuShagur Al-Ghaith, who told 150 US government and business attendees at a lunch held in his honour “Libya is open for business.”
These visits follow on from the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed between the Tripoli Chamber of Commerce and NUSACC, in Washington DC this March, which established a new Libya-U.S. Joint Business Council to provide a framework for strengthening economic relations between the two countries.
The Trade and Investment Mission includes site visits to commercial and industrial facilities as well as executive-level business networking events and meetings. A half-day business seminar co-organised by the TCCIA and NUSACC attracted more than 100 top Libyan companies interested in doing business with American concerns.
At the event Hamod said that this partnership had been “forged over the years by genuine friendship, shared values, and mutual respect” and spoke of a future providing “the highest level of service to tens of thousands of stakeholders in Libya and the United States.”
Hamod added: “The United States believes in Libya. The American people believe in the Libyan people. We are committed to you, and we are dedicated to the success of the new Libya.”
The NUSACC Greenfield Trade and Investment Mission will continue to Tunisia from 12-14 June.