Reshaping Arab-French Relations to the Level of Strategic Partnership

  • Paris, French Republic
  • 16 March 2023

Samir Abdullah Nass, President of the Union of Arab Chambers and Chairman of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, pointed out that "the Union of Arab Chambers, through its great interest in developing economic relations with various countries of the world, including the Arab-French Chamber, has succeeded in strengthening relations between the Arab private sector and the French private sector, and building bridges of joint cooperation with your country, which is an important partner for the Arab world."

During a speech at the opening of the Arab-French Economic Summit 2023, which was held under the title: "A partnership that must be consolidated in a world in crisis", in the French capital Paris on March 15, 2023, under the auspices of French President Emmanuel Macron, he stressed that "the world is living today a difficult scene due to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, which has caused frightening repercussions on the overall economic situation on the European continent and in the rest of the world, especially in terms of energy, inflation, food security and chains. Supply and supply. The world is also witnessing problems in terms of climate change and cybersecurity, as well as geopolitical risks, social discontent and internal conflict. But despite all this, there remains a real Arab desire to contribute to shaping future prospects, and to play a prominent and essential role in light of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Second Digital Revolution, which is characterized by the ability to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for people around the world, including the Arab world."

President Samir Nass considered that "France's recent trend towards expanding its investments in Arab countries, especially in the countries of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, after it was limited for many years to the Arab Maghreb countries, pushes us to expand cooperation in various sectors, the most prominent of which are culture, tourism, entertainment, sports, food safety, transport and logistics, manufacturing, as well as in the sectors of the future economy and other vital and strategic sectors."

He said: "We in the Union of Arab Chambers, through coordination and cooperation with our partners in the Arab-French Joint Chamber, seek to transfer the Arab-French relationship and cooperation to a level commensurate with the emerging global changes. As we are all aware of the very significant impact of development and economic integration on the progress, development and stability of our countries, it is necessary to expand the areas of joint investments, and focus on value-added projects and research, innovation and development, including the green economy, with the importance of following the rules of competition between enterprises and increasing the competitiveness of the economy."

Khaled Hanafi

For his part, the Secretary-General of the Union of Arab Chambers, Dr. Khaled Hanafi, stressed during his chairmanship of the second sectoral session within the activities of the Arab-French Economic Summit 2023, "A partnership that must be consolidated in a world going through crisis", that "the massive Arab presence at this summit confirms the interest of the Arab private sector in strengthening cooperation with the French side in various fields and fields."

He pointed out that "the holding of this summit under the patronage of His Excellency French President Emmanuel Macron represents a strong push towards moving forward in raising the level of economic relations between the Arab and French sides to greater and better levels, in light of the important economic and investment assets enjoyed by both sides."

Since His Excellency President Emmanuel Macron assumed the presidency in France, France has deepened its diplomatic relations with its Arab partners, which reflects not only the growing recognition of the positive role that Paris can play in the Arab world, but also the need to pay attention to regional voices in the Arab world, in light of the strategic reality of Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in Asia, and the countries of the Maghreb and the Arab Republic of Egypt in the African continent.

He stressed that "the Union of Arab Chambers, is very keen to develop and strengthen mutual relations, in partnership with the Arab-French Chamber, which plays an important role in linking relations between the two sides and raising them to the level of hopes and ambitions."

The Secretary-General considered that "Arab-French trade relations do not live up to what we aspire to, and they are decreasing instead of increasing, and from this point of view, it is necessary to think about a new method to improve our economic relations, especially in light of a changing world, and in light of the great changes that the Arab world has witnessed in recent decades and years," stressing "the need for France and the European Union to deal with the Arab world according to new foundations commensurate with the changes taking place, which calls for reformulating economic relations in accordance with The current classic pattern of import and export, to the level of strategic partnership."

"The Arab world is not a homogeneous region, where there is diversity and difference at the level of classifications, where there are rich countries, middle-income countries, and poor countries, and therefore there are many economic advantages for Arab countries, and here, for example, Arab-French cooperation in the field of food security can be strengthened through the establishment of logistical zones related to food security," he said.

Secretary-General Khaled Hanafi called on the French private sector and those in charge of economic policies in France to "rethink how to weave new relations with the Arab world, not only by penetrating Arab markets but by harnessing creative energies and reformulating the mutual relationship to serve the interests of both parties and the Arab and French peoples."

He concluded by saying that "there is an importance and necessity to give greater support and assistance to small and medium enterprises in order to build a new generation of businessmen with new creative ideas. This is done by providing the right environment, technical expertise, and scientific capabilities to lead these emerging investments in the commercial, industrial, manufacturing, and clean energy fields."

Source (Union of Arab Chambers)