Upon the request of the Arab Union for Leather Industries, a division of the League of Arab States, the Austro Arab Chamber of Commerce organized a visiting program to Austria from 3-7 April 2011.
The delegation was comprised of- Mr. Yousef SAAD – Secretary General of the Union
- Mr. Ali Taleb KAREEM - Financial Manager of the Union
- Mr. Tareq AL-TAMEEMI - Marketing and Commercial Manager of the Union
- Mr. Jasem ALSAQER – Member of the Board of Directors of the Union
- Mr. Amer MUTHANA
The delegation visited a number of Austrian companies where it was briefed on the latest technologies in tanning and leather industry as well as in water recycling technology of wastes resulting from this industry and the chemical and biological treatment of water.
On Monday, 4 April 2011, Secretary General of the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce (AACC), Mr. Mouddar KHOUJA, received the members of the delegation in the Chamber to discuss ways of cooperation between the Arab Union for Leather Industries and the AACC.
Further on, Mr. Khouja escorted the delegation on a visit to the VA TECH WABAG, one of the major water treatment companies in Austria where they were welcomed by Mr. Daniel PINEDA and Mr. Reinhard NOWOTNY, Directors of Sales and Marketing, and Dr. Josef LAHNSTEINER, Technology, Research and Development briefed on the latest recycling techniques and treatment of water resulting from the leather treatment and ways to deal with it, in particular because of the high levels of toxins in the remaining water. Clarifications and explanations on the modern technology applied by the company, innovations in the scientific field on water technology in both, the biological and chemical fields were all presented to the delegation.
Mr. Yousef SAAD at the WABAG entrance
Here, it is worth mentioning that treatment and recycling of water has acquired great interest in the Arab countries and these have embarked on setting standards for dealing with waste. In addition to that, some Arab countries are in the process of defining standards for environmental conservation and waste treatment.
l-t-r: Mr. Reinhard NOWOTNY – Mr. Yousef SAAD – Mr. Ali KAREEM – Mr. Jasem ALSAQER – Mr. Daniel PINEDA – Mr. Mouddar KHOUJA
On the same day, the members of the delegation of the Arab Union for Leather Industries visited the Association of the Austrian Textile, Clothing, Shoe and Leather Industry(Fachverband Textil – Bekleidung – Schuh - Leder) where they were received by its President Mr. Reinhard BACKHAUSEN and Ms. Claudia LEDER; . The delegation discussed ways of cooperation with the Association, especially in the establishment of a specialized center in the Arab world, that deals with the development of the leather industry in all its aspects, water treatment and the waste resulting from the handling of leather and the possibility of transmitting information about the modernization of the leather industry.
l-t-r: Mr. Ali KAREEM – Mr. Tareq AL-TAMEEMI – Mr. Reinhard BACKHAUSEN – Mr. Yousef SAAD – Ms. Claudia LEDER – Mr. Jasem ALSAQER
The program that was organized by the AACC in cooperation with the Association of Austrian Textile, Clothing, Shoe and Leather Industry, included also a visit to HARTJES GmbH, a company specialized in producing health shoes in Upper Austria, on Tuesday, 5 April 2011. The delegation was shown around in the factory by Mr. Otto LEODOLTER, CEO Hartjes and Mr. Johann STERNBAUER, Sales, and was able to observe how high-quality shoes were produced. They also paid a visit to MOCUS Korkproduktions GmbH, a company that produces shoe soles and treats waste products, where they were informed by its CEO Mr. Martin LEODOLTER.
l-t-r: Mr. Otto LEODOLTER – Mr. Jasem ALSAQER – Mr. Martin LEODOLTER – Mr. Johann STERNBAUER – Mr. Mouddar KHOUJA – Mr. Yousef SAAD – Mr. Tareq AL-TAMEEMI
On Wednesday, 6 April 2011, the delegation also visited WOLLSDORF LEDER SCHMIDT & CO GesmbH in Styria, one of the major Austrian companies specialized in tanning, treating and producing leather. This company has a turn over estimated at 100 Million Euro and employs 800 people, in addition to being one of the companies that holds an old tradition in this field. The company utilizes the most recent water and waste recycling methods.
Factory Tour at Wollsdorf
It produces high quality leather that is used in cars, aircrafts and furniture and its customers are BMW, Toyota, Volkswagen and a number of Airlines. The delegation was received at Wollsdorf Leder Schmidt by its Managing Director Mr. Andreas KINDERMANN, the Senior Plant Manager Mr. Herwig GRABNER and the Head of Environment and Energy Mr. Siegfried FIGOUTZ.
l-t-r: Mr. Mouddar KHOUJA – Mr. Ali KAREEM – Mr. Tareq AL-TAMEEMI – Mr. Herwig GRABNER – Mr. Jasem ALSAQER – Mr. Yousef SAAD – Mr. Andreas KINDERMANN
At the end of the delegation’s visit the Austro Arab Chamber of Commerce held an exclusive dinner at the famous Restaurant “KORSO” (related to Starwood Hotels Bristol/Imperial, an esteemed member of the AACC), in their honor that was also attended by the Director of the Office of the Arab League in Vienna, H.E. Ambassador Dr. Mikhail WEHBE and Mr. Ziad Tareq AL ADHAMI, Second Secretary at the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq in Austria.
l-t-r: Mr. Mouddar KHOUJA – Mr. Ziad AL ADHAMI – Mr. Omar AL-RAWI – Mr. Tareq
AL-TAMEEMI – Mr. Ali KAREEM – HE Mr. Mikhail WEHBE – Mr. Jasem ALSAQER – Mr. Yousef SAAD
Throughout their stay in Vienna, the delegation enjoyed their accommodation at the Grand Hotel Vienna, an esteemed member of the AACC.
4 April 2011:
ROUND TABLE TUNISIA: Future Perspectives.
Chaabani: An International Conference to Present the Situation in Tunisia
The Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy of the Republic of Tunisia in Vienna,Counselor Mr. Sabri Chaabani, revealed that there is an intention on holding an international conference in Tunisia aimed at discussing means and ways to support the country after the success of the revolution.
l-t-r: Mr. Mouddar KHOUJA – Mr. Youssef CHEBBI – Mr. Sabri CHAABANI – Ms. Silvia MACA – Mr. Riyadh DKHILI
During the round-table discussion regarding the future perspectives of Tunisia organized by the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Tunisia in Vienna on April 4, 2011 at the premises of the AACC, Mr. Chaabani said that “the initiative of the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce in organizing this event adds to the positive outlook on Tunisia, and the process of democratization that led to the revolution of ‘freedom and dignity’.” He further pointed out that the process of rebuilding security and trust in Tunisia is advancing and on the right track; he also mentioned that the current interim government has taken several measures to respond to the aspirations of the Tunisian people. The government is also making efforts to maintain security and stability in the country and to ensure the continuity of the State and its institutions, which are basic conditions for the gradual restoration of a dynamic Tunisian economy.
On another note, the Secretary Generalof the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce, Eng. Mouddar Khouja spoke about the deep-rooted Tunisian civilization, and the role played by Tunisia over the centuries as an important commercial passageway. Mr. Khouja went on by mentioning some facts about Tunisia and its people, pointing to the late Mohammed Bouazizi, who burned himself in protest after maltreatment by a municipal police officer in Sidi Bouzid, thus igniting the fuses of revolution in Tunisia and in a number of Arab countries.
Among the speakers at the round table were also the Director of the Export Financing and Promotion Division at the Austrian Ministry of Finance Ms. Silvia Maca, the Director of the Tunisian Tourist Board in Austria, Mr. Riadh Dkhili, and Mr. Youssef Chebbi, Financial Director of Tunisair Austria (by proxy of the General Director Mr. Mohamed Mzah); among the attendees were Austrian businessmen and people involved in trade and investment in and with Tunisia.
Ms. Maca spoke about the cooperation between Tunisia and Austria on the financial level, mentioning the agreements that had been signed between the two countries in the past and expressing her hopes that the new Tunisian government will continue on this level of cooperation with Austria, especially in the area of soft loans that enables investment in infrastructure – something that Tunisia can benefit from and that also is to the benefit of Austrian companies.
l-t-r: Mr. Mouddar KHOUJA – Mr. Sabri CHAABANI – Mr. Youssef CHEEBI – Mr. Riyadh DKHILI
Regarding the tourism sector, Mr. Dkhili stressed the great importance attached by Tunisia to this vital sector; he referred to the special position occupied by Tunisia from among its neighbors; and to the diversity of its tourist destinations providing the infrastructure necessary to attract the largest amount of tourists, especially from European countries. He mentioned that the number of tourists who visited Tunisia in the 2010 amounted to seven million, a number that has been decreasing since the beginning of this year as a result of the changes that faced the country. Yet, he is confident that Tunisia will soon recuperate in this field specifically because some countries have started lifting the travel ban to Tunisia for their nationals. This will revive the tourism sector, and thus he predicts a better future.
The Financial Director of Tunisair Austria, Mr. Chebbi, mentioned that there were 3 weekly flights between Vienna and Tunisia and that Austrian nationals used to fly frequently on Tunisair. This had receded recently and it was mainly Tunisian citizens who were using this airline. Chebbi expressed his hope and desire that Austrian tourists return to traveling on Tunisair to Tunisia as they used to, especially now that the peak tourist season is approaching.
Media and participants at the Round Table
The event was covered by different media. “MonitorTV”, the IT- and Business-TV-Channel and esteemed AACC cooperation partner featured not only the whole event, but seized to opportunity for personal interviews and statements by some of the experts present at the event (to be watched at the following link: http://www.monitortv.at/monitortv/website/egovernment.asp ). The event was also covered by the Tunisian National TV thatreported on the event on Tuesday, 5 April 2011 in their News Program.
7 April 2011:
AACC participating at Modul Career Fair
Upon invitation by its cooperation partner Modul University, the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce (AACC) participated at the 2nd Modul Career Fair that took place at the beautiful premises of Modul University at Vienna’s famous “Kahlenberg” on Thursday 7 April 2011.
The fair which featured some 30 exhibitors from the hotel and tourism branch, aimed to provide an exclusive selection of enterprises and companies active in that area to interested student from Modul Tourism School, Modul University as well as external visitors related to the branches.
The AACC was active to promote its service and activities as well as its publications – its periodical magazine SHARAKA as well as the current Austro-Arab Trade Directory 2011 – to the interested visitors. It was also a good opportunity to establish and intensify business contacts and envision further cooperations with highly reputed institutions represented at the fair.