Regional Consultative Group South Asia - Middle East
The second meeting of the ICC RCG South Asia-Middle East region was convened at the Four Seasons Hotel, Damascus, Syria on 15th February 2010 hosted by ICC Syria with the theme “Business – the leading factor in increasing international cooperation, understanding, trade & investment”

An Opening Welcome & Introduction Session prior to the meeting was addressed by:
- Dr. A. R. Attar, President ICC Syria & Member ICC Executive Board
- Mr. Jean Rozwadowski, Secretary General ICC
- Mr. Rona Yircali, Chairman WCF
- Mr. Tariq M. Rangoonwala, Regional Coordinator SAME/ Chairman, ICC Pakistan
- H. E. Adbullah Al Dardari, Vice Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Syria

The Second ICC RCG SAME meeting commenced at 10.30am.

The following were present at the meeting:

Chair / Regional Coordinator Tariq M. Rangoonwala
Bahrain Ebrahim Mohamed Ali Zainal
Chairman, ICC Bahrain
Georgia Fady Asly
Chairman, ICC Georgia
India S. N. Agarwal
President, ICC India

Ashok Ummat
Executive Director, ICC India
Iran (Islamic Republic of) Mohammad Nahavandian
Chairman, ICC Iran

Mohammad Mehdi Behkish
Secretary General, ICC Iran
Jordan Mohammad Hadi Asfour
Chairman, ICC Jordan

Ali Hudaib
Executive Director, ICC Jordan

Rajaa Al Jaouni
Secretary General, ICC Jordan
Kuwait Rabah A. Al-Rabah
Secretary General, ICC Kuwait

Yousef Al-Ali
Legal Advisor, ICC Kuwait
Lebanon Wajih Bizri
Chairman, ICC Lebanon

Carla Rene Saade
Secretary General, ICC Lebanon
Pakistan Tariq M. Rangoonwala
Chairman, ICC Pakistan

Javaid Basini
Secretary, ICC Pakistan
Sri Lanka Tissa Jayaweera
Chairman, ICC Sri Lanka

Gamini Peiris
CEO, ICC Sri Lanka
Syria Abdul Rahman Attar
Chairman, ICC Syria

Naji Chaoui
Secretary General, ICC Syria

Rateb Shallah
Vice President, ICC Syria

Farouk Joud
Vice President, ICC Syria

Khalil Sara
Board Member, ICC Syria

Nizar Assaad
Board Member, ICC Syria

Ghaida Abdul Latif
ICC Syria

Bassel Hamwi
Board Member, ICC Syria
UAE Ahmed Saif Belhasa
Chairman, ICC UAE

Saeed Obaid Al Jarwan
Executive Secretary General, ICC UAE
ICC International Secretariat Jean Rozwadowski
Secretary General, ICC

Rona Yircali
Chairman, WCF

Francois-Gabriel Ceyrac
Head of National Committees & Membership

Sami Houerbi
Director Arbitration, Africa & Middle East

Emily O’Connor
Senior Policy Manager, CLP
United Nations Ard Venema
Procurement Services
Regrets Received ICC Bangladesh
Did not attend ICC Cyprus
ICC Nepal
ICC Qatar
ICC Saudi Arabia

The following agenda was adopted for deliberation by the meeting:

2. Confirmation of the minutes of the First ICC RCG SAME Meeting held on 3rd May 2009 at Sharjah, UAE.

3. Discussions on formulation of a regional strategy for increasing ICC interaction within the region including joint efforts for the promotion of seminars, meetings, formation of new National Committees, ATA Carnet, ICC Arbitration, EBITT, WCN and ICC rules.

4. General economic conditions and the outlook for National Committees in the region; & Report and views by National Committees on their ongoing activities, finance and memberships.

5. Thematic discussion on regional trade, currencies & valuation, finance, tariffs and markets both in the context of intra-regional and regional groupings i.e., SAARC, GCC, EU, APEC, NAFTA and others and the role of ICC in enhancing cooperation, understanding, trade and investment.

6. Conclusions & Recommendations

Presentation of the ICC Secretary General Mr. Jean Rozwadowski:
The above agenda was accordingly amended to include a presentation by the ICC Secretary General Mr. Jean Rozwadowski prior to proceeding with the confirmation of the minutes of the First ICC RCG SAME meeting convened at Sharjah, UAE on 3rd May 2010.

Mr. Rozwadowski made a presentation of a strategy on a 3-year plan to achieve ICC’s objectives which would also include new cost estimates and revenue streams. He identified the basic segments of ICC being MNCs, SMEs in the context of the World Chambers Federation and law firms in the context of the ICC ICA. He further identified adverse factors affecting ICC as being the Euro/Dollar exchange rates, low interest rates on Court deposits, new accounting rules for recognizing Court revenues, recessionary impacts on memberships and depreciation on Court investments. He also cited increased competition and dysfunctional economic model as additional factors.

There were other technical issues in terms of sharing of resources, productivity and pricing in the Dispute Resolution areas and the definition of whether ICC is an NGO, MNC or SME. He spoke of maximizing ICC’s various components to enhance revenue and improve efficiencies by utilizing ICC assets such as Intellectual Property branding, Arbitration services, a global network of people, privileged access to UN and WTO and finally the network of the World Chambers Federation. He proceeded to identify specifically some of the services of ICC such as ATA Carnet and ICC rules to enhance ICC revenues.

Mr. Rozwadowski identified some of the priorities: To develop a commercial/ entreprenial culture, develop new revenue streams as well as strengthen existing one, implement a 3-year plan by June 2010, enhance communications, ensure the right issues are debated at the right level and re-examine the legal structure of the organization of ICC.

Agenda Item No.2: Confirmation of the minutes of the First ICC RCG SAME Meeting held on 3rd May 2009 at Sharjah, UAE
The Regional Coordinator Mr. Rangoonwala presented the minutes of the First ICC RCG SAME meeting held on 3rd May 2009 at Sharjah, UAE for confirmation by the participating National Committees.

With regard to matters arising from the minutes Mr. Rangoonwala presented a report to the RCG SAME on his interaction with ICC with regard to SAME deliberations and recommendations at the level of the ICC Executive Board’s NC Com meetings in Kuala Lumpur on June 1, 2009 and in New York on October 8, 2009. Mr. Rangoonwala apprised the participants that the First RCG SAME meeting held on 3rd May 2009 in Sharjah, UAE concluded 19 resolutions for conveyance to the ICC Executive Board’s NC Com. Of these 19 resolutions, resolution No.13 regarding WCF’s circumvention of NCs with regard to direct contact with Chambers of Commerce in their respective countries without intimation to NCs has now been addressed by not only the inclusion of the WCF in the NC Com but also the resolution of an incident which occurred with regard to the recognition of a chamber without intimation to the relevant NC in the SAME region. This recognition was subsequently withdrawn and as such the WCF has agreed to keep relevant NCs informed of any direct contact at their national level.

The Regional Coordinator further mentioned consequent to deliberations in Kuala Lumpur it was accordingly informed and resolved by all regional NCs as per an intimation dated June 12, 2009 addressed to all regional NCs and copied to ICC, to narrow the recommendations to the NC Com as follows:

1. To address the issue of UN & WTO categorizing the ICC as an NGO in view of ICC’s role and actual membership composition.
2. To request ICC for the indication of the RCGs in the ICC Constitution.
3. To seek ICC’s support in terms of the extensive delay faced by regional members in the processing of business visas.

The above was communicated by a letter dated June 18, 2009 to the ICC Secretary General by the Regional Coordinator on behalf of ICC RCG SAME. The letter was also copied to the ICC Chairman, Vice Chairman, all other Regional Coordinators of ICC and ICC’s First Director.

At the NC Com meeting held in New York on 8th October 2009 the Regional Coordinator again presented the 3 recommendations to the NC Com for consideration. The ICC Vice Chairman Mr. Rajat Gupta acknowledged the necessity to address ICC’s status with the UN and the WTO and informed of ongoing efforts in this regard. With regard to the indication of RCGs in the ICC Constitution Mr. Gupta assured the Regional Coordinator that he would take this matter up once he assumes the ICC Chairmanship to which the Regional Coordinator accordingly agreed.

Mr. Rangoonwala proceeded to inform the RCG SAME meeting of what happened subsequently in terms of the minutes received on the deliberations of 8th October 2009 in New York. He read out the exact wordings of the minutes for the information of regional members and quoted as follows:

“Tariq Rangoonwala repeated the request of himself and the RCG SAME that he chairs, for RCGs to be mentioned in the ICC Constitution. The Chairman recalled that this had been considered by the World Council in KL and had not been accepted on the grounds……..
(iii) The RCG should not come to endanger ICC’s global unity and voice by fragmenting messages along regional lines. Mr. Gupta undertook to give this matter further consideration “at sometime in the future” during his Chairmanship of ICC”

The Regional Coordinator informed the meeting that upon receipt of the minutes of the NC Com meeting held in New York on 8th October 2009 he wrote to Mr. Martin Wassell, ICC’s First Director to accordingly amend the minutes as the RCGs are not here to endanger ICC’s global unity and voice by fragmenting messages along regional lines and as such it was incorrect to mention this. The RCGs are here to in fact enhance ICC’s global unity by conveying their issues and matter to the NC Com which is responsible for creating RCGs and therefore is a commendable initiative. After receiving no reply to this request another message was sent to Mr. Martin Wassell with a copy to ICC Secretary General with the request to amend the minutes in the spirit of cooperation.

The Regional Coordinator pointed out essential flaws in the minutes not only in terms of merits of the recommendations but also of the fact the minutes attributed the recommendations to the Regional Coordinator himself and the RCG SAME whereas in fact it was a resolution solely of the RCG SAME.

In view of the above the Regional Coordinator informed the meeting of the options available to the RCG SAME NCs and in this regard circulated a letter addressed to the ICC Secretary General for the request of inclusion of agenda items in the next ICC World Council meeting to be held in Hong Kong in June 2010 under article 5 Para 7(c) of the ICC Constitution. This letter would need to be signed by each NC with a minimum of 10 NCs in order to include items on the World Council agenda.

Mr. Rozwadowski offered an apology in terms of the manner in which the minutes were recorded and confirmed that he had received a copy of our request for amendment in the minutes. He stressed that it would be better to discuss matters regarding the progress of ICC rather than delving into past issues.

Mr. Rona Yircali, Chairman WCF mentioned of the assurance given by the ICC Vice Chairman & Chairman NC Com Mr. Rajat Gupta to take up this matter during his Chairmanship of the ICC.

Mr. Rangoonwala responded by mentioning that these initiatives were in the interest of progress of ICC and also in the interest of accuracy in terms of recommendations by RCGs, which should not be misstated as being against ICC’s interest. Therefore it was necessary to apprise the RCG SAME NCs to accordingly decide on how to proceed with their recommendations in view of the response they have received. Ultimately it is not a decision of any individual but rather a group of ICC National Committees who are well within their rights under the ICC Constitution to avail the opportunity to put forward their point of view at the next World Council meeting which would be coinciding with Mr. Gupta’s assuming the ICC Chairmanship.

He further said requesting for agenda items at the World Council should not be looked upon as anything other than a desire of ICC NCs to discuss their issues at ICC's World Council. He requested the ICC Secretary General to look upon it as being in ICC's best interest and agreed with the Secretary General that we are all part and parcel of ICC and act in its best interest.

The matter being concluded 11 NCs of the RCG SAME accordingly resolved to sign the letter of request for inclusion of two agenda items in the next World Council meeting to be held in Hong Kong in June 2010. The two agenda items being:

1. Discussion on the status of ICC viz. the UN and the WTO.
2. The inclusion/ indication of RCGs in the ICC Constitution.

Agenda Item No.3: Discussions on formulation of a regional strategy for increasing ICC interaction within the region including joint efforts for the promotion of seminars, meetings, formation of new National Committees, ATA Carnet, ICC Arbitration, EBITT, WCN and ICC rules

With regard to increasing ICC’s regional interaction within the region in terms of joint efforts three presentations were made. Before the presentations commenced the Regional Coordinator circulated a survey of ICC NCs in the SAME region as to their ICC related activities, programs, initiatives and contributions. In terms of outstanding annual dues / arrears prior to 2010 the most significant arrears were that of ICC Qatar and ICC Nepal. All other were ongoing or in process or were being received for 2010 prior to the meeting. Mr. Francois Ceyrac, Director Membership & NCs has been in contact with ICC Qatar, ICC Nepal and ICC Saudi Arabia to resolve all matters.

Presentation on Incoterms:
A special presentation on Incoterms was made by Emily O’Connor, Senior Policy Manager, ICC Commission on Commercial Law and Practice. She informed the RCG SAME of the requirement to improve education in the use of Incoterms rules worldwide and of the need to replace the introduction with a shorter guidance section and the reformatting of existing preambles. She also mentioned the 2010 version of Incoterms will result in fewer Incoterms rules in order to eliminate any redundant terminologies and provided a planned timeline for bringing into force Incoterms 2010 as follows:
  • 5 March: Comments on third draft due to IHQ.
  • 1 April: Final draft to CLP Commission for approval at 6 May Commission meeting.
  • 6 May : Incoterms ® 2010 approved by CLP Commission.
  • 1 July: Intensive marketing begins for print books and seminars.
  • 16/17 September: Incoterms ® 2010 approved by ICC Executive Board.
  • 17 September: Launch of print books and seminars.  Marketing for online offerings, including PDF e-book, begins.
  • 1 January 2011: Launch of online products.  Incoterms ® 2010 in force.
Update on WCF activities:
The second presentation was made by Mr. Rona Yircali, Chairman WCF. He informed that the WCF Chairmanship comprises of the WCF Honorary Chairman Mr. Bobby Mazumdar and Deputy Chairman Peter Mihok and himself as the WCF Chairman. In addition there are six Vice Chairmen; Mr. Mick Fleming, Prince Sifiso Zulu, Mr. Mustafa Mansur, Mr. Mahendra Sanghi, Mr. Hamad Buanim, Mr. Lorenzo Ysasi Martinez.

Mr. Yircali apprised RCG SAME that chambers were 13% of ICC’s global membership but only 10% of the world’s estimated total chamber community. He also mentioned that out of 92 ICC NCs 55 are hosted within chambers. With regard to standalone NCs there are 37 with chamber memberships. There are also 32 countries without ICC National Committees where membership consists mainly of chambers of commerce and he accordingly listed them.

He identified the role of chambers of commerce in ICC and achievements of the WCF in 2009 which included new memberships. For 2010 he listed the activities on which WCF will be concentrating with priority as: ATA Carnet, Certificate of Origins as well as a WCF Outreach Program.

He informed the RCG SAME of the 7th World Chambers Congress scheduled to be held on 8-10 June 2011 in Mexico City which would cover a fundraising campaign, program development, speakers outreach and a chamber competition among its key components.

Presentation by UN Procurement Services:
In line with ICC and WCF’s increased interaction with the United Nations and an MOU signed by the WCF and the UN a presentation on UN Procurement was made by Mr. Ard Venema of UN Procurement Services. Mr. Venema apprised the RCG SAME of the procurement opportunities at the UN for businesses to supply goods and services which in the year 2008 approached US $ 14billion. He also indicated the various categories the UN procures.

He mentioned that the ICC WCF and UN partnership would like to see more vendors register from countries categorized as developing or as economies in transition in the UN Global Market Place (UNGM –

The Regional Coordinator Mr. Rangoonwala commented this was a good program in the context of the WCF and chambers of commerce to participate in and the RCG SAME will certainly apprise their member chambers of the UN opportunities. In the case of NCs themselves he opined that perhaps it would not be as relevant since memberships at NC level are by in large contributory to and supportive of UN efforts rather than to consider the UN as a business opportunity. This would be more relevant at the level of local chambers of commerce.

The presentations were accordingly concluded.

Agenda Item No.4: General economic conditions and the outlook for National Committees in the region; & Report and views by National Committees on their ongoing activities, finance and memberships
Agenda Item No.5: Thematic discussion on regional trade, currencies & valuation, finance, tariffs and markets both in the context of intra-regional and regional groupings i.e., SAARC, GCC, EU, APEC, NAFTA and others and the role of ICC in enhancing cooperation, understanding, trade and investment

Observations by the National Committees:

ICC UAE (Represented by Dr. Ahmed Saif Belhasa, Chairman and Mr. Saeed Obaid Al Jarwan, Executive Secretary General):

Mr. Saeed Obaid Al Jarwan mentioned currently ICC UAE has created permanent committees on Banking, Arbitration, Transport & Logistics and E-BITT resulting in an increase in membership and enhanced the NC’s finances. In this regard he further mentioned of the benefits to ICC UAE in terms of sponsorships of these permanent committees. These measures have been taken because the NC is not benefited by the regulation for mandatory membership of companies with chambers of commerce, which results in chambers having in some cases 40000 members in the UAE. Hence chamber of commerce are better off than NCs.

Mr. Jarwan mentioned with regard to establishing new NCs in the region ICC UAE has established contact with Oman for a new ICC National Committee and would like for a ICC delegation to visit Oman for a presentation on ICC activities and benefits. He further said ICC UAE is ready to accompany the ICC delegation to Oman as and when they decide to do so.

In terms of economic situation in the UAE he mentioned the real estate sector has been affected as a results of the slow growth globally and recessionary trends.

Dr. Ahmed Saif Belhasa, the Chair of ICC UAE mentioned that even though there has been a global recession which has affected real estate sector in the UAE, the UAE government has helped this sector and continues to support it during this period. He said it is not as negative as has been made to appear in the media. He conveyed that in the case of the UAE only one company has in fact been badly affected and not the government in the UAE. Therefore the impression conveyed in the international media is not correct. In either case the Government of Dubai and the Federal Government of the UAE are working together closely to solve all matters regarding debts etc.

He further mentioned the recession as having provided for the UAE businesses a good lesson how to handle recessionary trends and accordingly regulations are being further improved and being put into effect. Dr. Belhasa called for the ICC to take bold initiatives to address the international financial systems in terms of their accounting system and banking regulations, which in his opinion has been the reason for this global downturn. He further mentioned the difficulties faced in UAE especially in the construction sector in terms of bank guarantees and performance bonds and the international rules which apply to them. In this connection he mentioned that ICC URDG 758 can play an important role for standardizing procedures.

In terms of international arbitration ICC UAE will extend full cooperation to ICC in terms of developing appropriate international arbitration rules which would not be just restricted to the DFIC but would apply to the whole of UAE.

ICC Sri Lanka (Represented by Mr. Tissa Jayaweera, Chairman and Mr. Gamini Peiris, COO)

Mr. Tissa Jayaweera informed the participants that ICC Sri Lanka is now incorporated as a commercial entity. He informed of ICC Sri Lanka having conducted 8 seminars during the year 2009 on ICC rules and these seminars resulted in supplementing the funds of the National Committee. Some of these seminars were conducted by Mr. Pottengal Mukundan and Mr. Gary Collyer. However ICC Sri Lanka faces difficulty in getting expertise from ICC besides difficulties in paying the airfare and other costs.

He further informed that ICC Sri Lanka was benefited by the ATA Carnet program which is overseen by the National Committee. In Sri Lanka the gem and jewelry industry is the main user of the ATA Carnets. There are only two countries in the SAME region where the National Committees control the ATA Carnet operations i.e., Sri Lanka and Pakistan. ICC Sri Lanka offered its support to ICC Pakistan to enhance its ATA Carnet operations.

Mr. Jayaweera further informed of the establishment of the Colombo International Arbitration Centre, which functions as a hearing centre facility.

Mr. Gamini mentioned the high costs of ICC Publications and requested for ICC Publishing to consider outsourcing printing of ICC Publications in the SAME region in order to lower cost of publications, increase profits and discourage photocopying of the same.

He further mentioned for ICC with keeping the National Committee informed of their interaction with local chambers and to keep the National Committees advised.

ICC Sri Lanka requested that National Committees should be allowed to impart training and conduct certified courses on Documentary Credits for banks & financial institutions by qualified individuals.

ICC Lebanon (Represented by Mr. Wajih Bizri, Chairman and Carla Rene Saade, Secretary General)

Mr. Wajih Bizri informed that ICC Lebanon could not organize any event in the past year owing to political instability which has also affected its membership. The prospects for 2010 looks good and they have planned meetings and workshops.

He informed the RCG SAME ICC Lebanon has recently signed an MOU with the Chartered Institute of Arbitration and hope this year it will be able to carryout more activities including seminars on URDG 758 and Incoterms 2010 in September and an Arbitration Forum in November.

ICC Lebanon cited its interest in hosting the ICC RCG SAME meeting in Lebanon sometime in the near future.

ICC Lebanon also presented a printed Activity Report for the period 2003-2009 to all participants.

ICC Syria (Represented by Dr. Abdul Rahman Attar, President and Mr. Naji Chaoui, Secretary General)

In a presentation made by ICC Syria Mr. Naji Chaoui informed the RCG SAME that ICC Syria was founded in 1987 as an ICC National Committee with 28 members. It faced limited financial resources and a difficult working environment in view of the limited role of the private sector in a centrally planned economy.

The objective of ICC Syria is to be the leading organization in promoting international best practices in Syria as well as to serve as an access to the international business community to facilitate the transfer of know-how to the local business community concurrent to creating networking opportunities.

ICC Syria has organized meetings and seminars in UCP 500, UCP 600, Incoterms, URDG, IPR, Competition Regulations, Public Private Partnerships, General and Maritime Insurance, Customs trainings, Arbitration and ADR.

Currently in Syria there is a shift from a centrally planned economy to a market economy with establishment of new private insurance companies, private banks, stock markets and a new regulatory framework requiring laws for banking and insurance, competition and anti-dumping laws, laws governing investments, IPR and Public Private Partnerships.

ICC Syria interacts with the government committees in the drafting and implementation of new laws in the area of transport, IPR, Arbitration, new chamber laws and is also interacting with the government in revising company laws and commercial laws.

ICC Syria's current President Dr. Abdul Rahman Attar is not only on the Executive Board of ICC but also with his guidance ICC Syria has today become truly the voice of the private sector in Syria by introducing new amendments and making policy statements to the Syrian authorities.

In terms of ICC's initiatives in the region ICC Syria is concentrating on Incoterms, URDG and UCP 600. ICC Syria also scheduled a seminar on Incoterms 2010 in Damascus on 16th February 2010 to be conducted by Ms. Emily O'Connor.

ICC Syria recommended more regional cooperation in projects and conferences, additional attention to websites and for creating links with other National Committees. ICC Syria further recommended for engaging young people in the business environment.

ICC Jordan (Represented by Mr. Mohammad Asfour, Chairman; Mr. Ali Hudaib, Executive Director and Ms. Rajaa Al Jaouni, Secretary General)

Mr. Mohammad Asfour requested the Regional Coordinator to obtain reports from each National Committee in writing in advance so that these can be shared and discussed during the RCG SAME meetings and accordingly conveyed to ICC. He further said that these should also include a aspect of the national economic environment of the respective countries.

Mr. Asfour mentioned the need for ICC's identity at National Committee levels to be uniform in all cases i.e., ICC followed by the name of the country in order that ICC's identity internationally be the same.

With regard to the world economic situation Mr. Asfour mentioned that although it affected Jordan somewhat but not as significantly as other countries. He also mentioned the necessity for the promotion of junior chambers.

He informed that ICC Jordan remains active in translating ICC Publications in Arabic language and its distribution in the Arabic speaking countries.

Mr. Asfour welcomed all RCG SAME NCs to Amman, Jordan for the third ICC RCG SAME meeting to be hosted by ICC Jordan in 2011.

ICC Iran (Represented by Dr. Mohammad Nahavandian, Chairman and Dr. Mohammad Mehdi Behkish, Secretary General)

Dr. Nahavandian mentioned that ICC Iran and the national chambers in Iran are working closely together. The National Committee comprises of big corporations, insurance companies, banks and oil & gas companies. All banks in Iran are members of ICC Iran.

ICC Iran has seven active commissions including Banking, E-BITT, Transport & Logistics and Environment & Energy.

Dr. Nahavandian emphasized on regional cooperation to help strengthen ICC overall. He informed that ICC Iran conducted 20 seminars/ conferences promoting ICC activities and disseminating information.

He further said that in 2010 priority is on Incoterms 2010 and Model Contracts seminars will be conducted all over the country in conjunction with provincial chambers of commerce.

Dr. Nahavandian on behalf of ICC Iran circulated to all participants a copy of a letter signed by US business organizations addressed to the Economic Advisor and to the National Security Advisor to the US President with regard to the negative and counter productive effects of sanctions on international trade and investment in general and Iran in particular. He requested for ICC to accordingly take up the issue of sanctions as a disruption of international trade and deemed counterproductive in terms of international business cooperation and harmony.

ICC India (Represented by Mr. S. N. Agarwal, President and Mr. Ashok Ummat, Executive Director)Mr. S. N. Agarwal made a presentation on the Indian economy. He mentioned that in 2009-10 the Indian economy is expected to grow at a pace of 7.2% whereas in 2008-09 it grew at a rate of 6.7%.

Exports in the period between 2002-03 to 2007-08 (over 6 years) grew 25% whereas imports for the same period grew at 31%. India now has reserves in excess of $300 billion.

During the current year the growth in manufacturing sector is up by 16% however there is a concern with regard to the deficit of 6.8% of GDP.

India is working closely with the international community and has initiated the Invest India program to encourage public private partnerships.

Mr. Ashok Ummat informed the meeting that ICC India hosted the Regional CEO Forum in New Delhi in December 2009 and is currently focusing for rules on trade facilitation.

A workshop on Incoterms 2010 is being planned for September 2010 and in this regard he requested Ms. Emily O'Connor to recommend an expert to conduct the workshop. Mr. Ummat also said that workshops and seminars on ICC rules are revenue earner for ICC India.

ICC India recommended for a higher visibility of ICC ICA in India and that ICC ICA should have a permanent deputation in Delhi in view of the increasing requirement for arbitration in India with the increase of foreign investment on a increasingly larger scale. In this regard ICC India would provide all necessary facilitation and support to ICC and to the region.

ICC Georgia (Represented by Mr. Fady Asly, Chairman)

Mr. Fady Asly mentioned that according to the World Bank report 2008 Georgia is the No.1 economic reformer in the world and according to the World Bank report 2009 it is the 11th best country to do business.

He informed that Georgia has open markets and fights against corruptions and in fact Georgia is being consulted by UAE in recommending reform strategies.

ICC Georgia offered to host the 4th ICC RCG SAME meeting in Georgia after Jordan.

Mr. Asly also agreed to assist in the formation of new NCs in Armenia and Azerbaijan.

He mentioned the leading role being played by ICC Georgia with regard to all business legislation in the country. In this regard there are regular roundtables with government officials and ICC Georgia. The NC plays a leading role in facilitating rules and regulations for trade and investment in Georgia and it is in this regard ICC Georgia is considered the most effective business organization in Georgia.

Mr. Asly informed that the seminars/ workshops planned for the year includes UCP600, Incoterms 2010 and URDG 758.

ICC Bahrain (Represented by Mr. Ebrahim Mohamed Ali Zainal, Chairman)

Mr. Ebrahim Mohamed Ali Zainal mentioned that Bahrain is considered a paradise for foreign investors as they are allowed 100% ownership. Bahrain is a member of GCC and allows for customs free movement and is part of the Arab Customs regulation.

Bahrain has an FTA with the US and through the GCC an FTA with Singapore. Bahrain is not only a regional financial hub but also an international banking hub and is a leader in Islamic banking.

Mr. Zainal informed that ICC Bahrain was founded in 1999 within the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Under the auspices of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce & Industry a Committee on Trade Finance has been established which is also represented in the drafting groups of ICC for Incoterms, URDG and UCP. He further mentioned currently ICC Bahrain is working closely with ICC's drafting group on new Uniform Rules for Forfeiting. He further said ICC Bahrain is glad to assist regional National Committees in conducting seminars on UCP 600, URDG 758 and Incoterms 2010.

He also informed that under the auspices of the BCCI a Lawyers and Legal Committee has also been constituted which is headed by H. E. Sheikha Haya who is the member of ICC ICA for Bahrain. Sheikha Haya was also President of the United Nations General Assembly and Ambassador of Bahrain to France.

Bahrain’s Ministry of Justice is working closely with the American Arbitration Association and has set up a Chamber for Dispute Resolutions within the Ministry based on recent law issued.

He mentioned that ICC Bahrain had approached ICC ICA for establishing a Court office in Bahrain but there has been no positive response from the ICC ICA.

Mr. Zainal recommended that ICC ICA presence in Bahrain will be of great significance to the region.

He informed that ICC Bahrain is part of the BCCI but continues to interact regionally and internationally as ICC's National Committee retaining its own membership. He further informed of ICC Bahrain having attended a seminar on ATA Carnet hosted by ICC UAE and he informed that it is expected that the Istanbul Convention will be signed by all GCC countries in the very near future.

ICC Pakistan  (Represented by Mr. Tariq M. Rangoonwala, Chairman and Mr. Javaid Basini, Secretary)

ICC Pakistan had circulated its 2009 Annual Report for all participants. ICC Pakistan Chair Mr. Tariq Rangoonwala mentioned although the regional security situation and international recession has somewhat affected economic growth in Pakistan overall businesses are seeing healthy growth. Trade has been stagnant and the current account deficit is being kept under control. In terms of FDI the pace has been slow. IMF assistance was availed to overcome the recessionary affects and the economic situation has since stabilized and is expected to grow at 3.5%

He further said we have seen an increase in international interest in Pakistan however it is more on a state to state basis rather than business to business. During the political changes over the past two years ICC Pakistan has managed to preserve the legislative gains it had made in the previous government and as such the Government of Pakistan maintained continuity in terms of arbitration legislation and foreign arbitral awards enforcement provisions, Incoterms, telecom deregulation, trade facilitation laws and IPR. These are areas in which ICC Pakistan had obtained federal legislation and its implementation.

ICC Pakistan as a National Committee of ICC has now included several large chambers of commerce of the country as its members for interaction with the World Chambers Federation. At the same time ICC Pakistan has started working with the WCN to promote ChamberTrust seal.

ICC Pakistan has also formed the Karachi International Arbitration Centre as a hearing centre and is working towards establishing the required facilities.

In the area of E-BITT ICC Pakistan and ICC Iran are seeking to have a joint regional event and invite other regional NCS. In this regard he informed that E-BITT Commissions of both NCs are working together.

ICC Pakistan is promoting legislation related to E-BITT such as Data Protection laws, E-commerce laws and Cyber-crime laws.

Mr. Rangoonwala also informed that ICC Pakistan through its members has also been facilitating ICC internationally in its interaction with business and the UN in the area of BASIS and WSIS. Its members also remain active on the ICC Banking Commission.

ICC Pakistan recommended that in the area of UCP 600 the in-house Bills of Lading issue needs to be explicitly mentioned by ICC as a negotiable instrument under UCP rules because there is currently a controversy between the freight forwarders, banks and businesses on the recognition of in-house Bills of Lading.

ICC Pakistan also recommended the need for ICC to involve the region more actively in its Transport & Logistics Commission because the region is a major hub for transport in its various concentrations and requires close cooperation and support from ICC and ICC expertise in developing appropriate rules and regulatory mechanism on a region wide basis for transport and logistics which would be in compliance with international best practices.

Mr. Rangoonwala also informed that ICC Pakistan plans for an introductory workshop on Incoterms 2010 in October 2010 followed by a series of workshops on Incoterms 2010, URDG 758 and UCP 600. In this regard he also requested Ms. Emily O'Connor to suggest experts for conducting seminars on Incoterms 2010 and URDG 758.

After the observations and recommendations by all NCs the Regional Coordinator reviewed with all NCs the various recommendations and resolutions to be finalized for conveyance after approval by regional NCs to the ICC Executive NC Com for its deliberations scheduled on the 18th of March 2010 in Paris. These would be circulated to all regional NCs.

He emphasized that RCG recommendations and resolutions are not only supportive of but also reflect changes ICC is trying to bring about internationally in terms of its position and governance. The region is fully supportive and is a part and parcel of ICC and hopes to make a constructive contribution in not only enhancing ICC's capabilities, its sustainability but also to lend a hand in enhancing its standards.

Mr. Jean Rozwadowski stressed the all inclusive nature of ICC in terms of its regions and National Committees. He assured his continued efforts to enhance ICC's global reach and to take the recommendations of each region forward for discussion and deliberation.

Mr. Rangoonwala thanked ICC Syria and in particular its President Dr. Abdul Rahman Attar for hosting a successful second RCG SAME meeting and appreciated the efforts of Mr. Naji Chaoui and Ms. Mirna Nayfeh and thanked them for the warm hospitality we received.

On behalf of the RCG SAME he thanked the ICC Secretary General Mr. Jean Rozwadowski for his participation and support. He also appreciated and thanked Mr. Rona Yircali, Chairman WCF for his participation which has been a source of encouragement to all regional NCs in terms of ICC's policies to provide RCGs the opportunity to convey their views and issues for deliberation at the ICC Executive Board level.

The region thanked ICC officials Mr. Francois-Gabriel Ceyrac, Ms. Emily O'Connor and Mr. Sami Houerbi for facilitating this successful meeting and for their participation. Mr. Rangoonwala also wanted to appreciate the efforts of Mr. Javaid Basini in facilitating this meeting.

The meeting concluded with a vote of thanks to the Regional Coordinator.

Conclusions & Recommendations:
The following resolutions for conveyance to the ICC Executive Board's NC Com were concluded:
  1. The ICC RCG SAME welcomes the participation of the World Chambers Federation in the NC Com of the ICC Executive Board and recommends the WCF to keep National Committees informed of its interaction with their respective local chambers.
  1. Resolved to request ICC for inclusion of two items in the agenda of the next World Council meeting to be held in Hong Kong in June 2010. In this regard letters addressed to the ICC Secretary General signed by 11 NCs were delivered to the ICC Secretary General at the meeting.
  1. Resolved to convey a copy of RCG SAME's request to ICC for inclusion of two items in the agenda for the next World Council meeting to other Regional Coordinators for supporting the all inclusive concept of ICC.
  1. Resolved to recommend the need for ICC to involve the region more actively in its Transport & Logistics Commission in view of the SAME region being a major hub for transport & logistics in its various concentrations.
  1. Resolved to recommend to ICC to raise in its consultation with governments and IGOs the matter of sanctions being counterproductive and unnatural, thereby creating distortions for the global economy.
  1. Resolved to recommend to ICC to enhance its interaction and policy initiatives in terms of accounting standards and financial regulations which should include input from all regions in order to be able to effectively avoid the erosion of accounting standards and the disaffection of markets owing to weak regulation and weak governance.
  1. Resolved to recommend to ICC and its Banking Commission to make a clear statement on the interpretation of In-house Bills of Lading as a negotiable instrument under UCP 600 rules.
  1. Resolved to recommend to ICC the importance of URDG in the region in view of the lack of uniformity and reliability of financial guarantee systems prevalent in the region. In this regard ICC expertise and trainers should be available not only for individual NCs but also for regional events.
  1. Resolved that there is not only a vacuum but a clear requirement for ICC ICA's presence in the region and to request ICC to deliberate on this matter and provide for the SAME region a projection which may envisage such a development for which the region may provide the requisite assistance without any preconditions in order to ensure the continuing sanctity of the ICC ICA.
  1. Resolved to recommend to ICC ICA to always inform a National Committee whenever it intends to participate or conduct an event in its respective country.
  1. Resolved to recommend to ICC that National Committees should be allowed to impart training and conduct ICC certified courses on Documentary Credits by qualified individuals.
  1. Resolved to recommend for ICC to create a space on its international website for the RCGs and allow to link regional NCs websites in order to enhance interaction.
  1. Resolved to recommend for ICC to provide an opportunity to the SAME region NCs and other regions to quote for printing of ICC Publications as it will lower costs and increase profits.
  1. Resolved to recommend to ICC to send a delegation to Oman in conjunction with ICC UAE to encourage the formation of an ICC National Committee in Oman.
  1. Resolved to recommend to ICC to provide the requisite support to ICC Georgia in its initiative to create ICC National Committees in Armenia and Azerbaijan.
  1. Resolved for the next ICC RCG SAME meeting for 2011 to be held in Amman, Jordan hosted by ICC Jordan.