First Trade Mission 2012

Faddy Zouky OAM is an Australian citizen of Lebanese origin who has set out to make a difference to the world around him - making it his personal mission to make the world a better place for members of the global community.

As testament to his charisma and conviction, amidst growing regional tensions over the Syrian conflict, Faddy Zouky inspired a delegation of businesspeople from the wider Australian business community to see the very real potential of Lebanon as a new market for their products and services – with individuals of Croatian, Greek, Chinese, British and Australian heritage amongst the delegates attending the ALCCI Trade.

Faddy has injected hope and goodwill into the bilateral relationship between Australia and Lebanon as the Founding Chairman and President of the Australia Lebanon Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

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Monday, 26 November 2012

Philip Ruddock (Berowra, Liberal Party) | Link: Hansard source

Today is the national day of Lebanon. Sixty-nine years ago modern Lebanon was established. I had the great privilege of attending an event this evening with some colleagues at which that day was noted. In October I also had the privilege of participating in a trade mission to Lebanon. It was sponsored by the Australian Lebanon Chamber of Commerce & Industry, a relatively newly formed organisation but one which is very much attuned with the importance of developing an ongoing relationship between Australia and Lebanon, particularly through trade. In its objectives it says that it is about the promotion of two-way trade and investment between Australia and Lebanon, including but not limited to the export and import of goods and services, raw materials, farm commodities, manufactured products, tourism, education, professional services, and intellectual property and expertise; assisting the trade and investment activities of bilateral chambers; fostering an understanding of Lebanese culture and business practices in Australia; and fostering an understanding of Australian culture and business practices within the Lebanese business community.

This organisation has been ably led by a very prominent Victorian, a gentleman by the name of Faddy Zouky OAM. The honorary president is Louis Fleyfel OAM and a large number of other prominent business people are members of its board. The delegation, of which I formed part and in which many business people participated, was led by the governor of your state, Madam Speaker. It was a very full range of activities in which the delegation was involved. They met all day with the Chamber of Commerce in Industry and Agriculture for Beirut and Mount Lebanon. They met with the Lebanese International Business Council. They were also able to meet with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Agriculture of Tripoli. They had the opportunity of meeting with the Trade Minister, Mr Sabounjian. They also had the privilege—and I participated in this—of meeting with His Excellency General Michel Sleiman, the President of Lebanon. As I say, Alex Chernov, your governor, was with us. The delegation was also ably assisted by the Australian ambassador, Lex Bartlem.

I had the opportunity while I was there of visiting the Bekaa Valley and Zahlé. I spoke with the former Melkite Bishop of Australia, now the Bishop of Zahlé. I had the opportunity of also visiting North Lebanon. I was hosted in the town of Miziara. I was also able to go to the city of Biblos and there I was awarded the key of the city by the mayor of Biblos. This delegation was a great tribute to the effort and work of Mr Faddy Zouky. Tragically, during the time that the delegation was away, his father passed away. He remained to ensure that the organisation of the trade mission proceeded and then returned to the funeral of his father here in Australia. I think he put Australia first at a very difficult time.

It is with a great deal of personal delight that I have accepted becoming a patron of the Australia Lebanon Chamber of Commerce and Industry. I am pleased to be able to report that Mr Faddy Zouky was very excited by the headway made by the delegation and has reported very favourably on a large number of proposals by Lebanese organisations to have exchange programs with Australia. I was pleased to open up my Weekend Australian on the weekend of 10 November to read that Faddy Zouky of Zouky Brothers had received an award in the Ethnic Business Awards program for establishing a very successful business in Australia, employing now some 6,000 Australians—a remarkable Australian, a remarkable journey and very worthy of commendation. (Time expired)