ISIS: Belgium is not checking businesses operating in Syria and Iraq
Sunday, 10 July 2016
It is impossible to know if some Belgian companies are still trading in Iraqi and Syrian territories controlled by the terrorist group ISIS. This is because Belgium is not checking up on them, Le Soir reported on Saturday.
No less than 997 Belgian businesses have trade connections with Syria, and 865 have connections with Iraq. This is according to information from the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Exterior trade, Didiers Reynders (MR), requested by MP Benoit Hellings (Ecolo).
However, these figures do not fully reflect Belgium’s economic activity in the region, as institutional structures cannot find out where the businesses operate. The Economy SPF doesn’t have enough information to do this type of check.
There are also no checks by the Walloon export agency (AWEX). “You have to remember that some businesses work outside of any kind of structure. It’s all blurry… even more so when the country is at war”, explains Dominique Delattre, the director for Africa, the Middle East and the Far East.
Brussels businesses on the Brussels Invest&Export register do not have to list their commercial contacts.