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Saturday, 29 December 2012






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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 & Trade (FIT).

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 Sri Lanka.


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