Strong Belgium biz delegation due in May ‘13
Flanders, the industrious Belgium province renowned for its logistics
hub Antwerp, wants to enhance trade and manufacturing cooperation with
Sri Lanka significantly.
Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce
with Kris Peeters, Minister President of Flanders Region.
Kris Peeters, Minister President of Flanders Region, Belgium,
revealed this to Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen in
a meeting at Brussels.
Minister Bathiudeen was on an official visit to Belgium when he
toured Flanders, the industry-cum-logistics centre of Northern Belgium
which hosts the Port of Antwerp, the second largest seaport in Europe,
and also Brussels, the capital of Belgium. Flanders is also well known
globally for its tapestries and carpets tradition.
Bilateral trade which stood at $ 501 million in 2005 has almost
reached to $ one billion in 2011, depicting 100% growth. Today Belgium
has become the fourth largest export destination for Sri Lanka’s
products. Minister Bathiudeen also highlighted many promotional
activities undertaken by the Sri Lanka Embassy in Brussels under the
patronage of his Ministry during the last two years which includes a
visit of 50 Belgium trade business representatives from 40 companies to
Sri Lanka in November 2010 for the Belgium business week organised in
Colombo, the visit of the business delegation from Sri Lanka to Belgium
under his leadership in November 2011, the visit of 29 business
representatives of Belgium to Sri Lanka for export 2012 held in March
2012 and the participation of 40 Belgium companies in the interactive
business seminar organized by the Commercial Section of the Embassy in
Brussels on November 21, 2012 in collaboration with Brussels Enterprise,
Commerce and Industry (BECI).
The Minister said a Business Roundtable Meeting was scheduled to be
held with his participation at the headquarters of Flanders Investment &
Kris Peeters, Minister President welcoming the Minster and
appreciating positive trends of the trade and economic relations between
the two countries has stated that his region accounts for 70 percent of
Belgium GDP and 80 % its exports to the world. He also mentions that his
region accounts for 97 % of the trade between Belgium and Sri Lanka.
Flanders region also attracts a large majority of foreign investments to
Belgium. While presenting a copy of the White Paper on Flanders Region
Industries to the Minister, the Minister President said innovation and
value added industry are key areas that his region has prioritised on.
The major port of Antwerp in the region is progressing in becoming the
major hub of sea operations in Europe.
The Minister President stated the possibility of offering
scholarships for training facilities for port management to Sri Lanka by
Antwerp/Flanders Port Training Center (APEC). Such an engagement will
bring a win-win situation for the trade and economic relations between
the two countries. He said that he and his officials were ready to
facilitate the efforts in furthering trade and economic relations with