AmCham Libya, the branch of the American Chamber of Commerce in Libya, is restarting operations after a lull of almost three years.
As part of the reactivation, the head of AmCham Libya, Debbie Hirst, was in Tunis Thursday to sign a memorandum of understanding with Amcham Tunisia president Khaled Babbou. It reflects the current situation in which many Libya business are regularly in Tunis to meet foreign counterparts. Commercial ties between Libya and Tunisia also remain solid.
Speaking to a joint session of both chambers after the MOU was signed, Hirst, who is based in Tripoli, spoke of the importance for foreign company representatives of having strong personal relationships with Libya officials if deals were to happen and then work. It was important to choose partners carefully, she added. A former bank who also done US government advisory work, she also pointed to the various problems in Libya at present, saying there would be no miracle solutions, explaining that there were a number of spoilers with guns who “don’t want what is is good for Libya; they want what is good for themselves”.
But despite the problems and despite the fact that the political crisis was unlikely to be resolved soon, Libya was not a failed state, she insisted. Indeed, there were opportunities for those who persevered and who were patient.
AmCham Libya was now rebuilding its membership, she explained, adding that Libyans respected the US and the quality of its products and services.
So far it was working in the west of the country but hoped to expand to the east and south soon.
The US Chamber of Commerce, of which AmCham Libua is a part, is a private institution, not a government department, and has 117 affiliates in 103 countries to help promote trade between them and the US, and to provide members with both knowledge of the local market and support in the US itself.