ABCK Meets with U.S. Chamber of Commerce Leadership

On July 16th and 17th of 2019, ABCK Vice Chairman Frank Belonus and Executive Director Esra Cavdarli Menke joined the AmCham’s of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman, along with several other dignitaries, in Abu Dhabi for a roundtable discussion with Mr. Myron Brilliant, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs, and several other prominent leaders of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Brilliant provided a broad overview of U.S. Chamber global focuses that included the US/Mexico/Canada NAFTA, tariffs, ongoing negotiations with China, an ongoing Africa initiative, ongoing political challenges in Washington DC, his recent meeting with President Sisi of Egypt, and other focuses of trade and investment around the world. Numerous regional issues and initiatives were also discussed, to include the restriction on KSA defense sales, potential AmCham involvement at next year’s World Expo in Dubai, proprietary information policies, and support for US expatriates and US companies’ interests.

 

The ABCK Vice Chairman and Executive Director also had the opportunity to discuss Kuwait specific issues with several leaders of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that included;

 

·        Increased US and Kuwaiti awareness of ABCK being the AmCham for Kuwait.

·        ABCK integration with the new US/Kuwait Chamber Committee forming in Washington DC, to include an invitation for ABCK to be part of inauguration meeting, with the Amir of Kuwait possibly attending, (tentative date is 9 Sept. 2019) in Washington D.C.

·        Developing new avenues through U.S. Chamber for ABCK membership to articulate their concerns to multiple agencies of the U.S. government.

·        Increased U.S. Chamber focus on Kuwait.

·        Increased U.S. Chamber support for ABCK initiatives, events, and with the Kuwaiti government.

·        Business and investment challenges faced in Kuwait by our membership.

·        Development of a better U.S. business operating environment and supporting policies in Kuwait.

·        Support for individual U.S. expatriates and U.S. business interests in Kuwait.

·        The U.S. Chamber’s recognition of ABCK’s recent evolution, growth and relevance in Kuwait.

·        ABCK’s regional involvement as part of the global network of American Chambers of Commerce.

 

In their opening remarks, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce leadership highlighted ABCK and the significance of our presence at this meeting to them. The ABCK Vice Chairman said “it was an amazing opportunity to bring added value to ABCK and our membership, addressing Kuwait’s unique issues and concerns to U.S. leadership. It was great to hear the U.S. Chamber talk specifically about their renewed focus on, and efforts in Kuwait, and how ABCK is positioned to play a key role in their efforts. It was a wonderful opportunity for ABCK to increase our relevance nationally in both the U.S. and in Kuwait, setting the conditions for ABCK to do even more for our membership, and for U.S. business interests and investments in and with Kuwait in the near future!”

 

 

Inter Councils Summer Networking 2019

Seven Business Councils in Kuwait jointly organized their first Inter Councils Summer Networking Event on Wednesday, July 17. The event took place at Holiday Inn Salmiya and in attendance were over 100 guests consisting of members from across the 7 Business Councils in Kuwait: the American Business Council Kuwait (ABCK), the German Business Council Kuwait (GBCK), British Business Forum (BBF), the Australian Business Group (AusBG), the Canadian Business Council (CBC) and Canadians in Kuwait, the French Business Council Kuwait (FBCK), and the Kuwait Italian Business Council (KIB).

In his opening speech, ABCK’s Chairman Mr. Oswaldo Rueda, welcomed guests on behalf of all business councils present. He then introduced all the business councils present and called upon representatives from each council to the stage, and proceeded to inform guests that each of the business councils would be available to answering any questions regarding their respective council.

Following an evening of fruitful discussions and networking, ABCK did a raffle for the attendees in which Holiday Inn Salmiya provided a voucher for dinner for two at its Al-Diwan seafood theme night.

The event concluded with a group picture with all the seven business council representatives present.

 

ABCK’s 4th of July Celebration 2019

The American Business Council of Kuwait (ABCK) hosted its signature Fourth of July celebration this year at the Jumeirah Messilah Beach Resort & Spa. The Fourth of July or Independence Day is regarded as an important national holiday in the U.S. as it marks the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Declaration of Independence in 1776.

 

 

The event kicked off with an opening remark delivered by ABCK’s Chairman- Mr. Oswaldo Rueda followed by ABCK’s Vice Chairman- Mr. Frank Belonus, who gave a brief introduction about ABCK’s operations and the event, and thanked sponsors for making this day possible. Following the speech, the event’s activities commenced with a BBQ and live music performed by the band. In attendance were over 300 guests consisting of ABCK members, U.S. service members and Kuwaiti citizens.

 

 

“Today the American Business Council- Kuwait (ABCK) celebrated the United States’ 4th of July Independence Day, traditionally a day of gathering with friends and family, BBQ’s, games and fireworks. With the support of our amazing sponsors and the remarkable support by the stunning Jumeriah Messilah Beach Resort & Spa, we were able to continue this great tradition for our ABCK members, guests, and to nearly 300 U.S. service members currently stationed here in Kuwait. ABCK was very honored to have the U.S. Ambassador, the Honorable Lawrence Silverman and Brigadier General Staudenraus be part of this great event and talk with all in attendance. An amazing Independence Day was had by all on the beautiful shores of Kuwait!”

 

 

Following a beautiful day of activities by the beach, the attendees gathered for the singing of the U.S. national anthem and recognition ceremony. Among the guests of honor was Ambassador Lawrence Silverman who thanked the event sponsors and ABCK for bringing this event to life and expressed his gratitude for the service men and the brave sacrifices they make for their country. “I would like to recognize all of the servicemembers here today.  Your willingness to step forward and put yourselves in harm’s way, to protect the country and our citizens, is truly special, so I would like to say thank you to all of the troops here with us today, far away from home and your loved ones, for the sacrifices you make and all that you do to keep the United States the land of the free and the home of the brave”

 

 Many ABCK Board members were also in attendance. ABCK’s Chairman Mr. Oswaldo Rueda and Executive Director Ms. Esra Cavdarli Menke recognized the sponsors Raytheon, Venice, IFA International Travel and Tourism, Gulf Facilities Trading and Corporation (GFT), and Jumeirah Messilah Beach Resort & Spa, and thanked the ABCK staff and volunteers for making this day possible. Among those recognized was Mr. Ayman Sawires, General Manager at IFA, Mr. Sam Juahari, CEO of GFT, Mr. Gary Menke, President of Raytheon, Kuwait and Mr.Tom Deren, Vice President for Venice.

 

The event concluded with a cake cutting ceremony, group picture, and concluding remarks by ABCK’s Vice Chairman, Frank Belonus. The cake cutting ceremony was carried out by Brigadier General Staundenraus, and the youngest soldier in the troop. Per tradition, the oldest and youngest soldiers present join hands in cutting the cake, symbolizing the generations that have served in the army.

American Business Council Kuwait is a non- profit organization who has been advocating American business interest in the State of Kuwait since 1985.

OABC hosts first-ever GCC regional AmCham summit


Muscat: The Oman American Business Center (OABC), in a bid to foster closer relationships and business partnerships between regional AmChams (American Chambers of Commerce), hosted the first-ever GCC Regional AmCham Summit at Anantara Jebel Akhdar Resort on June 14 and 15.

 

“As AmCham affiliates in the GCC, we share one vision and mission. Of course, we also face similar challenges,” said Rebecca Olson, Executive Director of the OABC. “At what we trust will be the first of several meetings to come, we discovered several new ways to overcome these challenges as well as support each other and partner within the region.”

 

Olson continued, “When we invited regional AmCham leaders to attend this, the first-ever summit of its kind in the region, it was encouraging to see that not a single one hesitated.”

 

The GCC AmChams represent over 1,000 member companies and millions of dollars of US investment in the region. They are the go to organisations in each country for anything US trade and opportunities related.

 

Mary McGinnis, Executive Director, American Chamber of Commerce in Bahrain, stated that, “AmCham Bahrain is pleased to participate in this, the first Gulf Regional AmCham Summit. We recognise the power of communication and collaboration and look forward to building closer ties with our neighboring AmChams. In doing so we can bring more value to our members and increase regional, as well as US-Bahrain, trade.”

 

The two-day event brought together executive directors and board members representing AmChams in Oman, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Kuwait and Bahrain, to discuss opportunities for increased collaboration. This included partnering on joint trade missions to and from the US and bringing key speakers to the region for business events. The delegates also discussed best practices across several key points of interest that could further support member companies, ranging from communication and digital platforms to event planning and benefit programs.

 

Esra Cavdarli Menke, Executive Director of AmCham Kuwait said, “The event was a tremendous opportunity to learn what best practices other AmChams are using to promote greater US business relationships with our allies in the region.”

 

The Oman American Business Center is now finalizing its 2019-2020 calendar of events. Last year the organisation hosted 27 events in line with its mission to help support the Oman business community and to increase trade and commercial development between the Sultanate and the United States. At each event, executives and decision-makers in Oman meet, build relationships, learn and discuss key matters of interest to the business community.

ABCK Ramadan Iftar 2019

For Immediate Release. Kuwait 21 May 2019

American Business Council Kuwait hosts Annual Iftar Dinner

The American Business Council Kuwait– AmCham Kuwait (ABCK) hosted its annual Ramadan Iftar at the Four Seasons Hotel, on Tuesday, May 21st sponsored by Boeing Middle East. The event welcomed members of The Kuwait Disabled Sports Club whose worldwide achievements were recognized.

In his opening speech, ABCK’s Vice Chairman Mr.Fred Shuaibi, thanked all present and Boeing for being a strong supporter of American Business Council in Kuwait.

“The President of the United States recently said ´ Ramadan is the time of charity, of giving and service to fellow citizens. It is a time to draw closer as families, neighbors and communities” and it is in this spirit that the American Business Council -Kuwait host tonight’s iftar with our friends and neighbors of Kuwait. We are honored and privileged to have Ambassador Lawrence Silverman, the U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait and Mr. Shafi Al Hajeri, the Chairman of the Kuwait Disabled Sports Club with us today. We are also proud to host the club members and amazing athletes that have achieved so much this year1 We sincerely thank Mr. Bernard Dunn and all those at Boeing for sponsoring this wonderful iftar for all of us. ABCK wished all Ramadan Kareem.

 Ambassador Silverman added: ´ Ramadan highlights the strong community sprit within Kuwait. I have enjoyed attending many iftars, diwaniyas, and ghabgas over the past two weeks. I would like thank ABCK for organizing this iftar and Boeing for sponsoring. ABCK has had an active calendar of events over the past several months and the Embassy looks forward to partnering with ABCK on a terrific line -up of events beginning again in the fall, to help contribute to the growth of the US-Kuwait bilateral trade and investment relationship”

 Bernard Dunn, president of Boeing Middle East, Africa and Turkey, shared some words with the attendees: “Ramadan Kareem to our Kuwaiti partners. We are proud of the work we have achieved together over the past 50 years. Tonight serves as a reminder that kindness, understanding and respect are fundamental pillars to the betterment of any community and that each of us has an important part to play in the country’s development.”

  

This year’s iftar event welcomed a total of 100 people who are ABCK members, executives, athletes from the Kuwaiti Disabled Sports Club, and distinguished guests. Kuwait Disabled Sports Club Chairman Mr.Shafi emphasized on the importance of human: ‘’ Friendship, collaborations and charity are the three magic human values. We must work hard to enhance them to lead us to a better world’”

ABCK has been promoting American business interest for almost 35 years by supporting its members and advocating trade growth between the USA and the State of Kuwait while continuing to promote understanding between two cultures and bringing the community together.

ABCK BOD Election Night 2019

The American Business Council Kuwait– AmCham Kuwait held its Board of Directors Election Night on Friday, May 3rd at The United States Embassy in Kuwait, in attendance of 80 ABCK Members and Non-Members.

 

In his opening statements, ABCK’s Chairman Oswaldo Rueda thanked the guests for being there, and he thank the current Board of Directors (BOD) for their work towards ABCK, and he gave his best wishes to the new running candidates. Then, he introduced the Ambassador- H.E. Lawrence Silverman. Ambassador Silverman thanked ABCK’s Chairman for his remarks, and then praised ABCK as an organization for the achievements in advocacy for American corporations and corporations with American interest, as well as the current BOD for their contribution to the organization.

 

The Vice-chairman Fred Shuaibi then went on to the podium in order to explain how the voting and the ballots worked, and then he introduced each of the candidate as each of them gave their speech on why they should be part of the BOD and what each would be contributing to ABCK. The running candidates were AIG MEA Limited, Equate Petrochemical Company, Fluor, Marafie Kuwaitia, Honeywell, Alghanim Cadillac, Raytheon, Boeing Aerospace, and Gulf Facilities Trading & Contracting (GFT).

 

Once the speeches were finalized, ABCK’s Chairman took the time to recognize the event’s sponsors: Cisco, Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa, and Marafie Kuwaitia, as well as Embassy staff: Senior Commercial Officer- Jeff Hamilton, and Budget Analyst- Irma Tongol, who have strongly supported ABCK throughout the years.

 

Corporate and Individual Members casted their votes into the Ballot Box, and the event was resumed with a buffet dinner sponsored by Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa, followed by live entertainment from Jamstart.


ABCK Speaker Series – April 2019

The American Business Council Kuwait– AmCham Kuwait held its April Speaker Series on 50 Ways to Fight Bias on Tuesday, April 23rd, at Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa, in attendance of 30 ABCK Members and Non-Members.

In his opening statements, ABCK’s Chairman Oswaldo Rueda thanked the guests for attending then introduced ABCK’s guest speaker- Lieutenant Colonel Melody Mitchell, Regional Leader and Founder of Lean In Kuwait, an initiative created to support every gender in order for them to pursue their dreams without bias or other barriers that could interfere with their goals.

Lt. Col. Mitchell initiated the workshop as she explained that this activity would help individuals confront gender bias at work, as she would be providing concrete steps to address different forms of bias. In her workshop she provided an explanation for 6 types of biases: Likeability, Performance, Maternal, Attribution, Affinity, and Double Discriminatory & Intersectionality biases.

It was an interactive session where the attendees had the chance to debate among each other followed by filling out commitment cards with an action to confront any type of bias. Workshop concluded with a group photo of the attendees.

Mr. Rueda then thanked Lt. Col. Mitchell for her workshop and called on to ABCK’s Executive Director- Mrs. Esra Cavdarli Menke, and Vice Chair- Fred Shuaibi to recognize and thank the Lieutenant Colonel for her contribution to ABCK.


Guests then enjoyed a fabulous buffet and networking.

ABCK’s 34th Annual Gala 2019

The American Business Council Kuwait– AmCham Kuwait held its 34th Annual Gala on Friday, March 22nd, at the U.S. Embassy, in attendance of 130 members and their guests who wished to celebrate together with ABCK for their accomplishments throughout the past year.

In her opening statements, ABCK’s MC-Ms. Claire Hayden from LivinQ8, thanked guests for their attendance. Ms. Hayden then introduced the 34 Infantry Division “Red Bull” Band, from the U.S. Military who then played the U.S. national anthem followed by the Kuwait national anthem. Ms. Hayden thanked the band and then introduced ABCK’s Chairman Oswaldo Rueda who thanked the guests for being there and he spoke about the role that ABCK has had in being an advocate for American corporations in Kuwait, as well as connecting Kuwaiti corporations with American interest to several industries, with the help of the U.S. Embassy.

Mr. Rueda then introduced H.E. Ambassador Lawrence Silverman, who thanked ABCK for their great contribution throughout the past years, and the future plans for further collaboration between the U.S. Government and Kuwait. He made remarks regarding the steps that both governments are taking in order to make a more collaborative and positive relationship between Kuwait and the U.S., as well as organizations that are currently working to aid American interest in Kuwait.

 

Ms. Hayden thanked the Ambassador for his speech, and then called on to ABCK’s Executive Director- Mrs. Esra Cavdarli Menke, and Mr. Rueda in order to recognize our sponsors. ABCK’s Gold Sponsors for the 34th Annual Gala were: Gulf Facilities Trading & Contracting (GFT), represented by Mr. Sam Jauhari, Gulf Agency Company (GAC), represented by Mr. Filip Bjorklund, IFA International Travel and Tourism, represented by Mr. Ayman Sawires, Al Mulla Exchange, represented by Mr. Praveen Singh, Raytheon, represented by Mr. Gary Menke, and Four Seasons, represented by Mr. Didier Jardin. Finally, the Executive Director recognized ABCK’s Airline Partner- Emirates who provided two Business Class tickets from Kuwait to Dubai.


After the recognition of the sponsors, dinner started to be served and the live entertainment was resumed. To finalize, ABCK’s staff gathered ABCK’s Chairman, Vice Chairman, Executive Director, and Board members around the podium, in order to conclude the event with ABCK’s 34th Annual Gala cake cutting ceremony.

ABCK Speaker Series – March 2019

The American Business Council Kuwait– AmCham Kuwait held the March Speaker Series and General Meeting on the 12th of March at the Holiday Inn Salmiya Hotel, in attendance of 20 members and non-members who had interest in learning about Kuwait’s future and current business environment. ABCK invited Mr. Mohammad Yousef Yaqoub from KDIPA.

In his opening statements, ABCK’s Vice-Chairman Mr. Fred Shuaibi thanked the members and non-members for being present and for their constant support. After, the Vice-Chairman introduced ABCK’s guest speaker- Mr. Yaqoub. In his address, Mr. Yaqoub spoke about the new business opportunities in Kuwait, new developments, and Kuwait’s plan for 2035.


In his address, Mr. Yaqoub also explained the Kuwaiti government with KDIPA have been implementing methods to encourage foreign investment and more external markets to come to Kuwait, for example one of the methods that Mr. Yaqoub spoke about was that KDIPA has made it easier for organizations to register legally, as he explained that nowadays clients can come to KDIPA and register an organization in less than a month.

 

 

Mr. Yaqoub emphasized that knowledge transfer was needed for Kuwait’s future to keep evolving, and he stated that KDIPA is currently working in creating a knowledge center/technology center in order to tackle this challenge.

 

Mr. Yaqoub brought up a crucial reason regarding encouraging foreign investment in Kuwait. He stated that this will create more economic stability in the country, as every country within the region has been diversifying. Mr. Yaqoub explained that the first step that KDIPA has taken in order to create diverse markets, has been through opening the door for international companies by submitting the concept paper, so that if there is a possibility for companies to invest in Kuwait, and if there is a letter of intention from outside companies, KDIPA will then guide them through the rules of the sector, and they will aid them in opening a door for them within different sectors through information and guidance.

 

In the past, KDIPA’s focus was in 5 sectors: oil and gas, education, health care, construction, and ICT, since then they managed to get many international companies from different countries in these 5 sectors.

 

Mr. Yaqoub also noted that KDIPA believes that every company that goes to them should be able to have a different legal setup, as they work in different scales.

 

In his remarks, Mr. Yaqoub stated that KDIPA has been made responsible for the new commercial plots, so that they go through every project in order to understand how much investors will add as value for these areas. Moreover, he spoke briefly about the economic zones in which KDIPA together with the Kuwaiti government had been jointly working towards. The economic zones were said to be developed within 2-3 years, and there will be a total of three.

 

To finalize, ABCK’s Vice-Chairman and Executive Director recognized Mr. Yaqoub for his valuable informative session, and he was thanked for his contribution to the Speaker Series. The event concluded with networking where new and existing members had the chance to get to know each other.

 

ABCK’s Annual General Membership Meeting 2019

American Business Council – AmCham Kuwait held its Annual General Membership Meeting on the 12th of February at the Millenium Hotel, Kuwait in attendance of more than 50 members who are interested to be updated on past performance as well as its future plans.

In his opening statements, ABCK’s Chairman Mr. Oswaldo Rueda thanked the members and non-members for their constant contribution to the organization. After, the Chairman introduced Mr.Fred Shuabi, the Vice Chairman for ABCK who gave a briefing on the roadmap followed to adapt the new bylaws while Mr. Frank Belonus Chair for membership Committee, explained  step by step ,the new By-laws for the ABCK. Mr. Belonus also informed the members about the policies and the membership updates.


Mr. Oswaldo Rueda, Chairman, American Business Council Kuwait Mr. Fred Shuaibi, Vice Chair, American Business Council Kuwait
Mr. Frank Belonus, Chairman for Membership Committee

Mr.Alok Chugh , the treasurer for the organization presented the members with financial performance for 2018.


Mr. Alok Chugh, Treasurer, American Business Council Kuwait

The new bylaws were approved by a majority votes to be implemented 1 March 2019.

 

New Chairman’s Club members; GFT, Al Mulla Exchange, American International School, GAC and Cisco were recognized for their tremendous support to AmCham Kuwait.

 

The event concluded with networking where new and existing members had the chance to get to know each other’s businesses.