Belgium In Focus


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Belgium In Focus

  1. 1. Acknowledgements and Disclaimer Belgium in Focus is a special publication of the Embassy of Belgium in India. The views expressed in the magazine are those of the contributors -whom we hereby wish to thank for their participation- and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Embassy of Belgium or the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The magazine was produced with the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of the Kingdom of Belgium, and is not for sale. It should be used for private circulation only.
  2. 2. Courtesy of Belgian Tourist Office NYC/USA Photo: Made in Belgium Contents Ambassador’s Desk 4 Belgium- the gateway to Europe 5 Belgium and India: A history of close ties 7 Interview with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Karel De Gucht 11 Business Interview with Chairman (BICC&I), Mr. Philippe Vlerick and President (FEB), Mr. Thomas Leysen 14 Insight into Belgium as leading investment destination 16 Belgium and India to work together on port development projects 18 Interview with CEO, Rosy Blue, Mr. Dilip Mehta 20 Belgium and India, two complementary and growing biopharma clusters 22 Janssen Pharmaceutica to help facelift Indian heritage 24 Belgium- A quality education destination for Indian students 27 Leuven- A hub for Indian students in Belgium 28 Jazz legends of Belgium 29 Belgium’s popular museum of musical instruments 30 A peek into largest museum of photography in Europe 31 Come and visit Belgium 32 Belgian beer, a rich legacy 34 Useful business contact information 35 Cover Pic: Atomium, a monument built for Expo ‘58, the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. Designed by André Waterkeyn, it is 102-metres (335 ft) tall, with nine steel spheres connected so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. Photo courtesy - fatboyke
  3. 3. Ambassador’s Desk Photo: Embassy of Belgium H.E. Mr. Jean M. Deboutte Ambassador of Belgium to India Dear Reader, It’s a great pleasure to launch this new magazine on Belgium and on the steadily enlarging and intensifying relations between Belgium and India. We witness daily contacts and interests of Indian students and tourists, business people and artists, scientists and decision makers. Many of them are pleasantly surprised discovering a small and highly diversified country in the heart of Europe. This magazine will show them some aspects of Belgium they are familiar with but also some lesser known facets. The open mindedness of the Indian people fuels their eagerness to know more about the outside world. They will find in this magazine a wide range of topics offering them a first taste of what Belgium is like. I am convinced that this will wet their appetite for more. Especially in today’s difficult economic and social environment, it is necessary not to react in an inward looking way but to broaden the horizons and to work together in finding answers to our common challenges. This magazine intends to offer some practical ideas on new ways of co-operation. The importance, weight and relevance of India, in all aspects of life and development of the global society are recognised by all. Obviously, India is on a path to even increase its present stature. It is a privilege for Belgium to work closely together with this new Power. While not aiming at offering a complete picture, this magazine will show some of the most promising fields of co-operation. I sincerely hope this will encourage you, dear reader, to get into contact with the representatives of Belgium in India. We are here to co-operate with you. Thank you very much for your interest and for your valuable time. Belgium in Focus
  4. 4. Belgium | Belgium, the Gateway to Europe Belgium is a small, highly developed and densely populated country at the cross-roads of Europe them better. They put a high value on privacy and have a clear aversion towards moralizing, towards telling other people how they should or should not behave, and they take “live and let live” as the basis for their philosophy. Courtesy of Belgian Tourist Office NYC/USA Most Productive Workers Belgian workers are the most productive in the world. This productivity is due to a generally high Royal Palace of Belgium level of education resulting in highly skilled labour, Belgium is one of the founding and trade, which is facilitated extended automatisation, shift work members of the European by Belgium’s central position in that minimizes idle time, and low Community, and its capital, Western Europe, and the presence absenteeism. Although employees Brussels, also plays host to of many land and waterways. have relatively much vacation and the majority of European Nowadays, Belgium may be one free time, and can easily take time off institutions, NATO and many of the smallest countries in Europe, for illness without risking to lose their other international organizations but its economic impact greatly jobs, few working days are actually and lobbies of all kinds. exceeds its size. For instance lost. This is also due to the excellent Belgium has, since the Middle the country is one of the leading system of low cost medicine and the Ages, always been one of the countries in exports per capita in tradition of solving industrial conflicts richest and most developed the world. by negotiations. regions in the world. Just look at the historic churches, town halls, Quality of Life Thanks to the open market, the good and pieces of art, in cities such What all Belgians have in common distribution channels and the strong as Brussels, Ghent, Bruges, Liege is a love for the “good life”, which consumer requirements, one can find and Antwerp to get an idea of the they find in their excellent food the most diverse and high quality wealth during the mediaeval and and drink, comfortable housing, goods in the shops at relatively Renaissance periods. During the reliable medical and social low prices. The high production half century before World War I, services, and highly developed and consumption standards have Belgium was the fourth economic communications infrastructure. led to the publicity slogan ‘’This is power in the world. If you take into Belgians tend to be happy, warm Belgian” being used as a quality account that the other industrial and friendly once you get to know label, especially in the domains powers had a 5 to 10 times larger population, the achievement The country is one of the leading countries in is impressive. This wealth was due to industrial production exports per capita in the world Belgium in Focus
  5. 5. | Belgium Heart of Europe This tradition of openness continues today. Belgium is still a hub for international contacts. More than 1,000 public and private international organisations have set up headquarters or have a permanent secretariat in Belgium. Belgium in an international context Belgium, whose prosperity is largely dependent on external trade, has always played an active part in various forms of international cooperation. Since the creation of the Belgo-Luxembourg Photo: Karen Eliot Economic Union (BLEU) in 1921, Belgium has been involved in every initiative to set up international cooperation projects. As a Benelux member, Belgium was one of the precursors of European unification. The Berlaymont is a symbol of the European The three Benelux countries had decided back in presence in Brussels 1944 that trade between their countries should be free from import duties and that a common Geographically, Belgium is centrally located in Europe. customs tariff should be applied to trade with third Belgium has traditionally been an especially open countries. This customs union, which came into force country and was one of the original driving forces on 1 January 1948, promoted trade between the three behind European unification. As the headquarters Benelux countries. of the European Commission, the Council and many institutions linked to the EU, Brussels is most certainly In 1951, the Benelux countries together with France, entitled to call itself the capital of Europe. the Federal Republic of Germany and Italy created the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). In 1957, Belgium is situated at the heart of Europe. This is a the ‘Six’ set up the European Economic Community basic observation but the importance of its central (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community geographical location between the most important (Euratom). In 1965, these three organisations joined countries in Western Europe needs to be highlighted. together to form the European Communities. Following At the risk of seeming paradoxical, Belgium was in a a number of enlargements, Belgium is no longer one way already playing a `European’ role even before it of six member states but rather one of 27 members became “Belgian”. Just look at the past roles of Bruges of the European Union. and Antwerp in international trade, Leuven’s role as a university town and the part Liège played during the industrial revolution. Source : Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Belgium of food, drink and housing. More The facilities available in and have helped make the Belgian unexpectedly, Belgians, such as the around Brussels, have already market one of the toughest and “Antwerp Six” group, have made convinced a large number of most competitive in the world. inroads in top ten fashion design, a multinational companies to base To prosper in this demanding domain which was almost exclusively their European headquarters here, environment requires a high level under the control of French, Italian alongside the many European of resourcefulness, creativity and and Japanese designers. institutions. Hotels, international craftsmanship for which Belgian and national banks, efficient companies have become known Open to the World telecommunication services, the world over. A crossroads of several cultures, conference facilities, trade fairs, Belgium is a land of hospitality, Belgium has the advantage of a ... all are in plentiful supply and fully open to the world. We central location within Europe and tuned to the demanding and warmly welcome you. a extraordinarily well-developed rapidly evolving needs of local infrastructure. The communications and international business. network is offering rapid and efficient Belgium’s open trading policies Source: Made in Belgium transports by air, sea, road and rail. and efficient communications Belgium in Focus
  6. 6. Belgium – India | Belgium and India: A History of Close Ties A detailed look at more than 60 years of diplomatic ties between Belgium and India Diplomatic relations between The Kingdom of Belgium and the Republic of India were established more than 60 years ago and have remained friendly ever since. But the relations between our two nations go an even longer way back: the history of our relationship starts in Bengal, Photo: Press Information Bureau, India in 1723, with the mooring of the first ship of the Ostend Company at Banquibazar. The Belgians received the concession of Banquibazar as well as a settlement at Cassimbazar from the Nawab of Murshidabad and many other ships of the Company followed from 1725 to 1730. The President of India, Mrs. Pratibha Devisingh Patil and the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh welcoming Their Majesties King Albert II and Queen A History in Cultural Paola at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on November 04, 2008 Exchanges A few decades later, the arrival of settlers would also bring back This cultural relationship might be Antwerp-native artist Balthazar huge and sumptuous Belgian anchored in a past common history Solvyns in Calcutta marked the cut-glass or crystal chandeliers but it also focuses on current and first of a series of cultural high and mirrors. These pieces can future collaborations like such points in the history of Indo- still be admired alongside works initiatives as the BOZAR/India Belgian relations. One can find of the great Flemish masters in Festival, held in Brussels in 2006, Solvyn’s paintings in high places, such places as the palaces of one of the largest Indian cultural such as the Indian Prime Minister’s Gwalior and Mysore for instance, events ever organised abroad, and Residence. the Marble Palace in Calcutta or inaugurated by the honourable museums across the country. Lace Sonia Gandhi in person. At the end of the 1770s, Belgium also became known in India for from Bruges or Brussels came to Ties between Belgium and its quality glass, iron and steel India through Sister Marie Louise India in the field of Education products. The so-called Belgian de Meester, who taught the art of Aside from culture, India and trunk was very popular: it bore lace and embroidery to the orphans Belgium have also enjoyed the trademark ‘Belgium’, which of Mulagumoodu in Tamil Nadu. historically close ties in the field became a synonym of quality. Today, the orphanages continue of education. The well-known St From their travels in Europe, to produce goods for sale back in Xavier’s College has been run by Maharajahs, merchants and Belgium! Belgian Jesuits for some 140 years Belgium in Focus
  7. 7. | Belgium – India selected Brussels as its main hub for Europe and will connect most Indian cities directly to Brussels in the coming years. Belgium is, in its turn, the 13th largest investor in India worldwide (the 8th from the EU): our country’s cumulative investments (FDI) in Photo: Press Information Bureau, India India between 1991 and 2007 represent close to €160 million. Belgium’s Commitment to the Belgo-Indian Relationship In a foreign policy note published in 2006, the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has declared it was eager to commit itself even King Albert II and Queen Paola paying their respects to Mahatma Gandhi more to its relationship with India, and his legacy at Raj Ghat on November 4, 2008 recognizing the growing role the country is playing on both the now. ‘St Xavier’s’ is recognised all With more than €8.6 billion in political and economic level in over India for its high standards of trade in 2007, Belgium, together Asia and in the world. The new learning and the many VIPs and with the UK and Germany, is one policy was put to application the VVIPs among its alumni. of India’s most important trading same year during Prime Minister partners in the EU (who is, in turn, Verhofstadt and Minister of Foreign Today, Belgium and India nourish India’s first trading partner with Affairs De Gucht’s visit to India in these close ties in the field of more than €55 billion in trade in November. During this visit a education through Agreements 2007). Bilateral Agreement on Science and related to scholarship programs Technology as well as a ground- as well as exchange programs Belgium is also a prime destination breaking Agreement on Social between our universities. Every for Indian investors. Companies Security were signed. They were year Belgium is happy to welcome like Suzlon, Crompton Greaves, added to the series of Agreements constantly increasing numbers of the Thapar group, Raymond, already existing between both Indian students: in 2007-08 there Ranbaxy, Matrix Labs, and others countries on such issues as the were more than 420 Indian students have invested more than 1 billion avoidance of double taxation and registered in our top universities, € in Belgium in 2006. In addition, the protection and promotion of making Belgium one of continental Indian carrier Jet Airways has investments. Europe’s most attractive countries for Indian students. A Constantly Growing Trade and Economic Relationship Belgium and Indian companies have also enjoyed a long history together out of which fruitful collaborations have sprung in various fields going from diamond Photo: Press Information Bureau, India trading cutting to infrastructure, energy, ports, machinery, banking finance, chemicals fertilizers, nanotechnology, aerospace and of course chocolate! Countless joint-venture proposals between Belgian and Indian companies have been approved (more than 200 between 1991 and 2004) and bilateral flows between King Albert II in a meeting with Mrs. Sonia the two countries stand very high. Gandhi in New Delhi in November 2008 Belgium in Focus
  8. 8. Belgium – India | The November 2008 State Visit of Their Majesties the King and Queen of the Belgians to India H.M. King Albert II and Minister of Foreign Affairs Karel De Gucht’s Photo: Honorary Consulate of Belgium in Chennai official State Visit to India in November 2008 also showed how dedicated Belgium is to fostering its relationship with India. The carefully planned visit took our King across the subcontinent to visit officials, academics and businessmen in New Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad but also to Chennai, a city that enjoys close ties with Belgium. The State Visit addressed most of the sectors covered by the Their Majesties King Albert II and Queen Paola at the residence of rich bilateral ties between both Honorary Consul of Belgium in Chennai, Dr. A.C. Muthiah countries. Official Contacts The Official visit started on Indian Community The Business Lunch in Delhi was organised by CII and the Belgian Federation of Enterprises November 4th when the Belgian Sovereigns, accompanied by in Belgium and witnessed the signing of five agreements between Belgian Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs There are about 7,000 persons and Indian companies in various and Trade H.E. Mr. Karel De of Indian origin in Belgium. sectors: IBA and VECC (cyclotron), Gucht and his wife, were welcomed Indian Communities are mainly Janssen Pharmaceutica and the at Rashtrapati Bhawan by H.E. in Antwerp and Brussels. ASI (treatment and restoration of President Pratibha Patil and H.E. heritage monuments), Tractebel There are about 250 families Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Engineering and GAIL India Limited engaged in diamond trade in (supply of pipeline infrastructures), The King and Queen of the Antwerp. Many of the other a Belgian consortium and Indian Belgians as well as the Minister Indians living in Belgium Gas Limited (for the construction then went on to Raj Ghat to pay are professionals employed of Manappad Port) and an MoU their respects. Later that day, His with either multinational between the Free University of Majesty King Albert II, alongside companies or other professional Brussels and IIM Ahmedabad. Minister De Gucht, met with Shri Pranab Mukherjee before leaving organisations. There are seven In Mumbai, H.M. the King hosted to Hyderabad House for a closed Indian associations. The leading a restricted Power Lunch at the doors meeting with Prime Minister ones are Bhartiya Samaj and the Taj Mahal Palace, in presence of Manmohan Singh. In the afternoon, among others H.E. the Minister Antwerp Indian Association. the Sovereigns received a call by of Foreign Affairs, V.K. Kamath Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. (Managing Director CEO of ICICI An Impressive Agenda of Bank), Naresh Goyal (Chairman Jet The day was concluded by a Business Deliverables Airways), M.V. Nair (Chairman formal State Dinner hosted by H.E. The State Visit also had an impressive and Managing Director Union President Pratibha Devisingh Patil business agenda, proportionate to Bank of India), André Bergen at Rashtrapati Bhawan. the size of the Belgian business (CEO KBC Group), Dr. Ajit Shetty In all the cities visited by the Royal delegation that was accompanying (Chairman Board of Directors delegation, official contacts were Their Majesties: no less than 40 Janssen Pharmaceutica) and Dilip made with the state authorities as of the most important CEO’s of Mehta (CEO Rosy Blue). The Taj well and the Sovereigns had the the country had been invited to was also the scene of the signature pleasure of enjoying the hospitality joint the Royal Visit! The business of various Agreements between of the Governors of Maharashtra agenda included some high-level Belgian and Indian companies in and Tamil Nadu as well as the Chief business lunches in Delhi, Mumbai the fields of Banking (Agreement Minister of Andhra Pradesh. and Chennai. between KBC Asset Management Belgium in Focus
  9. 9. | Belgium – India and workers at a national level. Both the Sovereigns attended the signing ceremony of a series of Declarations of Intent between the Brothers of Charity and Help Handicapped International as well as the Tata institute of Social Sciences on the topic of mental health. In Chennai, Queen Paola visited the Little Flower Convent for Deaf Dumb, a school recognised for its outstanding work by the Government in Tamil Nadu since 1931. She also made the Photo: Press Information Bureau, India trip to the Holy Family Hansenorium in Fathimanagar (Tiruchirapalli) that provides quality leprosy services to needy patients thanks to financial support from the Damian Foundation. In India, the leprosy case load came down from 160 for every 10000 population in 1986 to less than 1 case for every 10000 population in 1997. While the field programme was H.M. King Albert II planting a tree at the Infosys Campus in taken over by the Government, the Hyderabad on November 8, 2008 institution was recognized as a tertiary referral centre for managing leprosy and Union Bank of India for an asset the Karnataka Academy of Social patients with complications. management joint venture company) and Sciences and Humanities), the Logistics (Contract between the Belgian University of Madras and the (Re)discovering India industrial group Cockerill Maintenance Flemish interuniversity Council, and Ingenierie and Tata Steel for the the Catholic University of Leuven More than a simple political or delivery of a Cold Rolling Mill). and the Society for Electronics business visit, the State Visit of the and Security, and the Indian and Belgian Sovereigns to India was In Chennai, South India Chamber of Belgian Nuclear Societies. also all about discovering India in Commerce and Industry (SICCI) and its immensely diversified cultural the Belgian Federation of Enterprises Encouraging of Common work and philosophical presence and organised a joint Seminar on Port on Social Issues heritage. The King and Queen took it development with the participation upon them to visit sites representing of the Zeebrugge and Antwerp Port During the Royal Visit, Her Majesty the most prominent faiths of the Authorities. the Queen visited numerous Indian subcontinent: from the Birla Mandir organisations that work in the and the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib in Confirming the Important social field in the various cities that Delhi to the Kapaleeswarar Temple in Academic ties between Belgium were on the agenda. Mylapore, without forgetting the Jain and India Temple on Ridge Road in Mumbai In Delhi, she visited Cansupport, and the Santhome Basilica in Chennai. Their Majesties King Albert II and Queen an Indian organisation that It was surely a most enlightening Paola were also accompanied by a provides information, hope and experience. large academic delegation comprised expert palliative care at no cost of the Rectors (equivalent of the Indian to the homes of cancer patients During this visit Their Majesties and Vice-Chancellors) of the major Belgian and their families living in Delhi the members of the delegation have universities. In this field as well, the State and the NCR, and the Women (re)discovered that, in spite of many Visit was the ideal opportunity to put on and Children Welfare Centre that paradoxes, India is most certainly paper the basis for future collaborations works with victims of exploitation defining itself as an emerging political between, amongst others, the Free and violence. and economic giant. Those who were University of Brussels and Jawaharlal privileged enough to accompany the Nehru University, the Catholic University In Mumbai Her Majesty visited State Visit of our Sovereigns were on of Louvain and the Chennai Mathematical the National Domestic Workers the front row to witness how deep Institute as well as IIT Bombay, the Movement that is active in 23 Belgian’s bilateral ties with India run Ghent University and universities from Indian States and works towards and how this crucial relationship is Karnataka (in view of the building of achieving dignity for domestic work cherished by both sides. Belgium in Focus 10
  10. 10. Minister De Gucht | “Royal Visit Signalled a Qualitative Leap in Indo-Belgian Partnership” The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, Mr. Karel De Gucht shares his views on recent bilateral developments between Belgium and India in an interview with Harun Riaz and Shilpy Arora memoranda, involving contracts had, by the networking that took Mr. Minister, the November in the energy industry, cooperation place between our academics 2008 State visit to India by in developing ports, technological and by the political discussions King Albert II and Queen cooperation, a joint venture in we’ve had. Paola took place after a long the banking sector, educational gap of 38 years. What tangible For me as minister of Foreign projects... Too much to mention. gains have been achieved Affairs, exchanging views with by Belgium from the current But a State Visit is about more Indian officials on cooperation visit? than just the immediate, tangible in the Congo, for instance, or on gains. In general, relations trade negotiations in the WTO There’s quite a lot of them. We between India and Belgium have are very important. And in that have signed eight business deals been much strengthened by the respect also, this was a very and no less than 17 academic contacts our business people have satisfying visit. “The energy, the potential and the culture of India are enough to charm anybody” Can you share the thoughts of Their Majesties about India, its people and were they received well? The energy, the potential and the culture of India are enough to charm anybody. I have visited the country before, both as a minister and as a tourist, and every time I’m struck by the friendliness and the vibrancy of it. For us, this was the biggest and the longest State Visit ever, with Photo: Mikhail Evstafiev over 150 people travelling in different delegations - academics, officials, businessmen etc – and the way everything was organised, the warmth and the efficiency of our reception, was splendid. Just The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, Mr. Karel De Gucht perfect. 11 Belgium in Focus
  11. 11. | Minister De Gucht Despite an old, close and vibrant Belgium-India relationship, no President of India has ever visited Belgium. Why? We very much look forward to welcoming the President of India for a visit to our country. And the President of India can be assured of our best hospitality, as a tribute to the warmth of our smooth relations and as a signal of our eagerness to further develop our cooperation. In India, Brussels is known as European capital, rather than Belgian capital. How much this factor overshadows Belgian-India business growth and tourism potential? Photo: Photo Division Archive Belgians are enthusiastic Europeans and there is no way we would be jealous of Europe or irritated because a portion of the visitors visit Brussels first as the capital of Europe. Their Majesties King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola being received by President of India, Mr. V. V. Giri at Rashtrapati On the contrary, we are proud Bhavan in New Delhi on January 28, 1970 to share Brussels with the European Prince Philippe has visited “It will not take another 38 years for the next India thrice in the last Belgian State Visit to come to India!” decade. How different is the visit by King Albert II in comparison? cultural, social, economic, Union and there is no bad reason These visits have a very different academic, etc… to visit the city. Belgium offers scope. When HRH Prince the best location as a gateway to Philippe visits India, he leads The purpose here was not to focus Europe, with its central position an economic mission of Belgian specifically on a limited number and the presence of European and businessmen who want to explore of sectors, but to maximize the other international institutions. business opportunities in India, general benefits of this State visit The Indian company Jet Airways, and he helps them in doing so by for both the countries. This State for instance, understood this well facilitating high level contacts. visit signalled also a qualitative and has aptly chosen Brussels as a leap towards a global partnership successful hub for its international The visit of HM King Albert II between Belgium and India. was a State visit. It was an all operations linking Europe and So many contacts have been North America with India. encompassing event, whereby initialled in several fields and we all the aspects of the relations expect a permanently increased No, being at the heart of Europe is between India and Belgium have cooperation to result from the a diplomatic and economic bonus been tackled: diplomatic, political, visit. for us, no doubt about it. Belgium in Focus 12
  12. 12. Minister De Gucht | and an opportunity. It could be “This was the biggest and the longest State a challenge if we are unable to Visit ever, with over 150 people travelling in adapt ourselves or if we don’t listen to market signals, be it at different delegations” the end of the sales line or at the production level. But it could also be an opportunity for us to seize. Our experience dates back centuries and the position of Antwerp in this sector carries a brand value which we should and will further develop. Why should we not look for Photo: Press Information Bureau, India joint undertakings in this field with Indian traders whereby the win-win solutions would benefit faster and even more to both partners? You came on a Queen Paola and Foreign Minister Mr. De Gucht and his wife visiting the historic Taj Mahal at Agra city in November 2008 second visit to India. You also have a friendly relation with Minister Kamal Nath. Is Despite Belgium’s attractive the Indians have found good there a better understanding of tax benefits to the information opportunities. And we notice India in Brussels, the capital technology sector, major Indian also that those, sometimes of Europe? investment goes into diamond considerable, Indian investments sector. Moreover, some major have been beneficial for the I should say that today, India Indian multinationals have companies involved (Suzlon is much more on Europe’s mind established their European Energy, Hanssen Transmissions, than it was just a few years ago. headquarters in Amsterdam. Crompton Graves, All Cargo The rise in economic power, its Why Netherlands has an Movers, Raymond, Ranbaxy, growing role in regional and world upper hand when it comes to ArcelorMittal, Jet Airways etc.), affairs, the proactive positions attracting Indian business? securing good employment and taken in some of the pressing opening up new markets. world challenges such as climate It is true that, for decades, the change or the trade negotiations, major Indian investments in the very serious approach to the Belgium were mostly directed As Indians are now holding issue of terrorism…, these are all towards the diamond sector. key position in the global factors which help us to keep in There’s nothing wrong with that. diamond business, how do closer touch with India, and to We are proud of the trust and Belgian people look at this factor? Does it affect Belgian- seek synergies. we are happy to know that the Indian investors have benefitted India ties in any way? This visit was symbolic for these well from their ventures. closer relations, and it was Business is a very dynamic activity, in constant evolution very helpful in developing them But there’s more to our and the diamond business is no further. relationship. Today we see a strong diversification of the Indian exception to this rule. As Belgians, Rest assured, it will not take investments in all sectors… we see the growing presence of another 38 years for the next heavy industries, manufacturing, Indians in the global diamond Belgian State visit to come to logistics, services. You name it, business both as a challenge India! 13 Belgium in Focus
  13. 13. | Business “More than 60 Belgian Companies Already Doing Business with India” In conversation with Harun Riaz, Mr. Philippe Vlerick, Chairman of the BICCI - the Belgo-Indian Chamber of Commerce Industry and Mr. Thomas Leysen, President of the FEB – the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium - reveal why Belgian expertise is recognised worldwide Photos: FEB/VBO Mr. Philippe Vlerick Mr. Thomas Leysen hub, Avantha Group or Suzlon Industry and the FEB have Mr. Vlerick, Mr. Leysen, what been in projecting Belgium which are active in the energy are your thoughts from the 10- as an investment, trade and sector in Belgium, TCS which day visit to India in November economic partner for the is already operating with more 2008, a State visit by King Indian businesses? than 300 employees in Brussels, Albert II? etc. This is a good basis and we We have organized several We are extremely satisfied! The have underlined these existing business forums and networking Business delegation- 40 Belgian trade and investments relations. session in the four cities we have companies active in the key But we must have the ambition visited - New Delhi, Mumbai, sectors of the Belgian economy – to do better! And we believe that Hyderabad, Chennai - in order has been extremely well received this State Visit has contributed to contribute to further strengthen in India, a very dynamic emerging to reach this strategic objective; the existing trade and investment country. More than 60 Belgian for example, about ten contracts relations between our two very companies, active in the industry between Belgian and Indian dynamic countries. and the services, are already companies or partners have been active in India. And several main signed during the Visit. We have promoted some key Indian companies are already Belgian companies active in active in Belgium, like for example the following sectors: the eco- How successful the Belgo- Jet Airways, which has chosen the technologies, the diamonds, Indian Chamber of Commerce Brussels Airport for its European the bio-pharmaceuticals and Belgium in Focus 1
  14. 14. Business | the port activities. Many top members of the FEB (branch characteristics we have in common Belgian companies, active in these organisations) very often organize should help the Belgian and the sectors, are already active in India trade missions to India. In this Indian companies in their business for years and we are strongly regard we already look forward relations. convinced that these partnerships to participating in the broad can be improved. For example, economic mission to India which What’s your current membership several Belgian companies are should be organized in 2010 and strength and what is the level worldwide leaders in the niches which would be headed by the of awareness among members of the eco-technologies (energy Crown Prince. about Belgian economy as well efficiency, renewable energies, as Indian economy? waste management, air and water The BICCI has signed cleaning, etc.) and they could The membership of BICCI became a Memorandum of offer a clear added-value to help very representative during the last Understanding with Southern India to tackle the challenges years and is bringing the BICCI India Chamber of Commerce linked to the climate change or the to one of the most active chambers and Industry (SICCI). Can increase of the energy demand. in Belgium. you elaborate on the new Furthermore, the contracts which agreement? A lot of industries and businesses have been signed during the Visit – in the field of industry, are paying membership and this is This MoU, which has been signed infrastructures, financial services a clear commitment. The presence in Chennai by the FEB on behalf or port activities – illustrate this on the events is another proof. of the BICCI, aims to create high potential. a framework for exchange of But we have also promoted information, hosting of business The amount of Belgian Belgium as THE gateway to delegations, etc. It underlines the investment in India is Europe for Indian investors. mutual ambition to further develop significantly low, compared Belgium is located at the heart of the existing relationships. to EU member countries like Europe and the main institutions Germany, France, Netherlands of the European Union are and Norway. What needs to be How successful or difficult the done to significantly enhance located in Brussels, the second Belgian-India matchmaking largest diplomatic centre in the Belgian presence in India and programme has been to set up vice a versa? world after Washington. The new businesses? Are cultural Belgian economy is a very open differences between Europe As already mentioned, more than economy, benefiting from state of and India a hindrance in 60 Belgian companies are already the art infrastructure and a high business promotion? active in India and on the other quality labour force. Moreover the side the Belgian export to India companies operating in Belgium Although Belgium and India are has increased by 16 per cent last benefit from a very attractive tax very different as far as the scale of year. But this must indeed be regime. And Belgium is very well the countries and of the population increased and further diversified. appreciated by the expats for its are concerned, they do have some Regarding the business climate great quality of live. similarities. Our two countries in India, a lot has already been are organized on a federal basis, done by the Indian authorities which means that the regional to attract FDI or to encourage What are you doing to diversify authorities are in charge of several the foreign companies to extend the trade basket between policies directly linked to the their activities in India. We have Belgium and India, excluding day-to-day of the companies. encouraged the Indian authorities the diamond business, which This means also that, in India to go forward in their economic dominates the bilateral and in Belgium, we are used to reforms and to further cut the trade? successfully manage different red tape (administrative burdens, We try to work on these two regional and cultural identities mostly for the SME’s), develop directions: to extend the activities and languages. This diversity is the infrastructures and facilitate of our companies in and with seen as an added-value for our the access to land ownership and India and to attract more two countries. Finally, our two further open the Indian market for Indian investors in Belgium. The countries are very open to the foreign goods and services. And BICCI welcomes very often world and our companies are of course the Belgian authorities Indian business delegations and used to working every day with must also reinforce their efforts organizes several business forums partners and employees from in order to attract more Indian dedicated to India. And the key different nationalities. These investments. 1 Belgium in Focus
  15. 15. | Invest in Belgium Belgium Leading Investment Destination Belgium has a clearly international outlook due to its geographical location, multicultural population and history For centuries, it has been a gateway to your project off the ground. The as their holding location for continental Europe and trading hub, Fiscal Department for Foreign investments in Europe allows retaining the best of Latin, Germanic Investments (at FPS Finance) corporate investors from treaty and Anglo-Saxon cultures. The people provides free, confidential advice. countries to repatriate European of Belgium enjoy a fine reputation for There is an intelligent tax solution profits without paying dividend their high level of productivity, loyalty, for your project. withholding tax and without a openness and multilingual skills. limitation on profits. Belgian tax legislation also Belgium is a federal state consisting provides economic players with The Belgian tax system has also of three regions: Brussels , Flanders a generally applicable advance created attractive conditions for and Wallonia. Each region has a great ‘ruling’ practice, which enables employers, expatriate employees deal of autonomy, making Belgium them to assess fiscal consequences or researchers. RD projects one of the most modern states in of investment decisions in also benefit from tax incentives, the world. The regions’ powers and advance. The ruling is issued such as environmentally friendly responsibilities include trade, the within three months and the ruling investments. economy, employment, industry, decision is legally binding for up agriculture and the environment. They to five years. The nominal tax Business-Friendly each pursue a dynamic economic policy rate for small and medium-sized Government Administrations geared to their own requirements and enterprises (SMEs) with a taxable provide free professional, confidential profit not exceeding €322,500, is If you’re looking to set up shop support to help you make your business of 24.98% and at the lower end in Europe, expand your business plans a success. of the European tax scale. or make Belgium your hub of operations, then you’ve come to Clear Attraction One of the most popular Belgian the right place. Welcome to the fiscal measures is the notional capital of Europe! These policies are bearing fruit. interest deduction. Belgium is Foreign Direct Investment magazine the only European country to The Belgian administrative (a Financial Times publication) recently alleviate the differences in tax authorities are keen to help ranked Flanders and Wallonia among treatment between finance raised you. You will be provided with the top 5 most attractive regions in through venture capital and customised, confidential services. Europe. Among large cities, Brussels finance raised through borrowed We would be delighted to help ranked in the top 10 for infrastructure, capital. It allows companies to you make your plans a success. quality of life and human resources . deduct a notional charge from their tax base that corresponds The Belgian federal and regional This combined regional performance to a specific percentage of their administrations will help you free makes Belgium one of the most ‘adjusted’ equity capital. of charge, providing flexible, non- attractive countries in Europe, offering an environment rich in opportunities, bureaucratic and pro-investor The ‘new domestic dividend support. Most of them have stable economic growth and a strong withholding tax exemption’ is branches nearby, making it easy currency. also likely to become very popular for you to contact them in Belgium among investors. It extends the or in your country. You will see An Intelligent Pro-Business Tax EU Parent-Subsidiary Directive and feel the difference. System between the 27 EU-countries While all commercial companies and Switzerland to all countries Tax Advice resident in Belgium are subject to worldwide that have a double The Federal Public Service corporate income tax, the authorities tax treaty with Belgium, such as Finance has a team of experts can help you find the best fiscal Hong Kong, the United States that provides tax information mechanisms allowing you to get and also India. Using Belgium and support for foreign investors Belgium in Focus 1
  16. 16. Invest in Belgium | already established in Belgium. you find the best opportunities for to set up or expand in Flanders, It informs and guides foreign your business in Belgium. the northern region of Belgium and investors on tax matters and one of Europe ‘s most favourable assists them in their dealings with If you’re seeking assistance business locations. In Wallonia, the tax authorities. This includes on other matters (locations, the southern region of Belgium, providing support for the notional incentives, partners, etc.), our foreign investors are welcomed interest deduction and helping to regional authorities will be by the Office for Foreign Investors prepare the ruling file. delighted to provide you with (OFI). professional help. In Brussels, The Federal Public Service the Brussels Enterprise Agency Belgium Economy also organises support (BEA) will provide you with the Brussels for foreign investors, helping support you need to launch your them with their procedures and business in the capital of Europe. Wallonia formalities. FPS Economy’s Service Flanders Investment Trade Flanders for Foreign Investments will help helps foreign businesses seeking Support to Foreign Investors Full support is given by the investment offices at federal and regional level. On the federal level the Service for Foreign Investments of the Federal Public Service Economy provides general information, coordinates with the federal and regional authorities and guides you throughout your investment decision process. Federal Public Service Economy, SMEs, Self-Employed Energy Service for Foreign Investments City Atrium C rue du Progres 50 Vooruitgangstraat 1210 Brussels Tel: + 32 2 277 7808 • Fax + 32 2 277 53 06 Wallonia Export Investment Agency Namur Office Park, Avenue des dessus de Lives, 6 Ministry of the Brussels Capital Region 5101 NAMUR-LOYERS Foreign Investments Department Tel: +32(0)81/33.28.50 Fax: +32(0)81/33.28.69 Bid du Jardin Botanique 20 Kruidtuinlaan 1035 Brussels Tel: + 32 2 800 34 61 • Fax: + 32 2 800 38 06 Federal Public Service Finance Fiscal Opt for Foreign Investments Rue Marie Theresestraat 1, box 4 1000 Brussels Tel. + 32 2 579 38 66 Brussels Enterprise Agency (BEA) Tour Taxis Avenue du Port 86c Havenlaan, Set up a company in just 3 days Box 21 1 1000 Brussels Tel: + 32 2422 00 20 • Fax+ 32 2 422 00 43 It takes just three days to complete all the formalities and get your business up and running. Day 1 – the Bank: open a bank account and deposit the minimum start-up capital Day 2 – the Notary: use e-deposit to draw up deed Ministry of the Flanders Region of incorporation and articles of association (you will be Flanders Investment Trade assigned a unique ‘enterprise number’, registered with rue Gaucheretstraat 90, 1030 Brussels the Crossroads Bank of Enterprises and registered with Tel: + 32 2 50488 71 • Fax: + 32 2 504 88 70 the clerk of the Commercial Court, and your documents will be published in the Belgian Official Gazette) Day 3 – the business one-stop shop: your enterprise number is activated. 1 Belgium in Focus
  17. 17. | Port Infrastructure Belgium and India to work Together on Port Development Projects Various modernised and greener ports have been built in Belgium that can be used as models for developing docks in India Photo: Port of Zeebrugge Belgium is one of the pioneering countries to log into Cooperation between companies of both countries in the Indian ports business with innovative plans and the field of port development was one of the central programmes. The Memorandum of Understanding themes of the Belgian State Visit to India as it is (MoU) signed between the port of Chennai and the a field in which both countries have already been port of Zeebrugge of Belgium in November 2008, and working together closely, among other things in the a MoU between a Belgian Consortium of companies specific field of dredging. and Indian Gas Limited for the construction of a port in Manappad during the State Visit of Belgian King Albert Much to Gain II to India clearly indicates that Belgium and Belgian Size and Experience companies are keen to groom the Indian docks. In the field of port development, Belgium and India The MoU between Chennai and Zeebrugge will show very complementary characteristics. also enlarge the scope in various fields of marine On the one hand, one has a country with 12 major transportation, port development and for working ports along its 7.517 km coastline, where some 133.8 together as sister ports, in the case of Chennai million tonnes of cargo were handled in the first and Zeebrugge. It will also enlarge the scope of quarter of 2008 alone. cooperation between the two ports and enable active interaction between the management and personnel On the other hand, one has a much smaller country of the two ports for their mutual benefits. but that has been working for centuries as a major Belgium in Focus 1
  18. 18. Port Infrastructure | Photo: Photo: Koos Fernhout View of the Port of Antwerp Cranes in the Port of Antwerp “ The aim of the MoU is to exchange ideas, technology and other inputs from the Port of Zeebrugge to make the Chennai Port a clean cargo port ” entry port to Europe for goods from across the Opportunities in Dredging world. With several major harbours within 100 km of each other, Belgium has the largest concentration Industry analysts feel dredging could be a major area of seaports handling the highest volume of general of cooperation between Belgium and India in the cargo in the world. sector of port development. As per the Eleventh Plan (2007-12) of India, the country needs a total capital Antwerp, one of Belgium’s major ports, harbours the dredging requirement of almost 298.28 million cubic second biggest chemical cluster in the world after metres in all the major ports. Hence India is leaving Houston (USA) and handles nearly 200 million tonnes no stone unturned to attract overseas companies in of cargo per year thanks to the hundreds of regular this area. shipping lines that connect the Port of Antwerp to some 800 overseas ports. The Port of Zeebrugge, Belgium is already involved in the dredging operations with lock-free access and berthing, is one of the at some of the major ports of South India such as the most modern container ports in Europe. Connected Kochi and Ennore ports. But this MoU has opened to some 400 ports in more than 100 countries, this new vistas and now Belgium can explore possibilities port is known for its handling of cars (more than in the Chennai Port as well. 1.600.000 enter or exit Europe through this port every year). Other important Belgian ports include the Port Infrastructural Development of Ghent (specialised in the handling of bulk cargo), the Port of Liège (2nd biggest European inland port) Setting its sights on becoming ‘the Detroit of Asia’, and the Port of Brussels. the Government of Tamil Nadu state is giving extra emphasis to the infrastructure development of the Chennai Port. Infrastructural development projects Clean Cargo Port carried out by the Belgian companies on the Ennore The aim of the MoU between the ports of Chennai port of Tamil Nadu demonstrated the calibre of and Zeebrugge is to exchange ideas, technology and Belgian private sector. The Chennai Port was therefore other inputs from the Port of Zeebrugge to make the keen to invite Belgian expertise, particularly in Chennai Port a clean cargo port. maritime transportation. Belgian ports have a great deal to offer to their Indian Green Project counterparts in the fields of port development. One of the best examples of the country’s maritime potential With increasing focus on green projects, the MoU also is the successful move of the port of Zeebrugge from emphasizes that the Port of Zeebrugge will exchange handling dirty cargo such as coal and iron ore to the best practices to reduce ecological footprint of containers, cars and clean cargos. logistical activities at the Chennai Port. 1 Belgium in Focus