The Council of EU Chambers of Commerce in India (CEUCCI) organized a Luncheon Meeting in honour of Mr. Gaston Stronck, Ambassador, Embassy of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg on June 24, 2014 at  Ballroom, Royal Bombay Yacht Club, Mumbai.

Capt. Avinash Batra, President of The Council of EU Chambers of Commerce in India welcomed H. E Mr. Gaston Stronck, Ambassador Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to India , Mr. Charles Schmit, First secretary, Embassy of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg and Mr. Ashok Kadakia, Honorary Consul of Luxembourg in Mumbai and other guests. He introduced the Chamber and highlighted the plethora of its activities.

He reiterated that The Council of EU Chambers is one of the foremost trade promotion organizations in India, established in 1992 to promote, foster and extend commercial and economic relations between India and the EU.  Since its inception the Chamber has grown in its reach and expanded extensively. It is committed to promoting relations and partnerships between the EU and India.

Capt. Batra briefly outlined the primary promoters of the Chamber, consisting of the European Bi National Chambers such as the Indo-Belgian & Luxembourg , Indo-French, Indo-German, Indo-Italian , Indo- Romanian Chambers and 10 European Bi national Business committees. Its Chief Patron is H.E. Dr. Joao Cravinho, Ambassador and the Head of Delegation of the European Union to India.

He went on to state the various sectors that The Chambers members represent, such as banking & finance, infrastructure, automobiles, pharmaceuticals, electrical and engineering, shipping and logistics, consultancy & services, information technology, mining, textile, energy, agricultural products etc.  The Chambers membership consists of both SMEs and large organizations, with SMEs contributing to about 60% of its membership. The Chamber is dedicated to providing flawless services to its members and other supporting organizations. Capt. Batra outlined the Chambers services to its members, which include dissemination of information, networking opportunities, leadership conferences, workshops, seminars, arranging visits of Indian companies to the EU, as well as assisting Indian companies to enter European markets, etc.

Capt Batra also made a mention of few recently conducted activities by the Chamber such as Europe Day Celebration to mark the foundation of Europe, Indo-Bulgarian forum and interactive meeting with 16-members of the Young Entrepreneurs of Slovenia.

Talking about the Indo- Luxembourg relations, he said they have traditionally been very close and friendly and these relations would be further strengthened through regular exchange of high-level visits between the two countries.

The total annual trade between India and Luxembourg in 2012 was of € 63.4 million with India’s imports from Luxembourg at € 51.9 while its exports were at € 11.5 million. The major items of India’s exports to Luxembourg were: textiles and garments; engineering products and chemicals. The major items of India’s imports from Luxembourg were: engineering goods, metals, plastics, textiles and garments etc.

Luxembourg offers an exceptional range of assets and opportunities for doing business in Europe. Luxembourg thus can be the ideal base for Indian companies who want to establish a permanent base within the European Union.

Capt. Batra concluded his speech with thanking all present and offering mementos to Chief Guest.

H. E Mr. Gaston Stronck Ambassador Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Chief Guest at the event addressed the gathering. Some of the key points highlighted were as follows:

  • Ambassador thanked CEUCCI for the support and was indeed felt privileged to be present at the function
  • He said Luxembourg’s current investment in India is only about 20 billion Euros which needs to be increased. Trade between India and Luxembourg is about 65 million and FDI inflow from Luxembourg to India is around 500 million.
  • With a population of only 460,000, foreign trade and investment is the main vector for economic growth. More than 80% of the goods produced in the Grand-Duchy are exported.
  • Located in the heart of Europe, Luxembourg is a gateway to the European market with more than 500 million consumers. Due to its political and social stability, skilled and multilingual workforce, state-of-the-art infrastructures, excellent connectivity to markets, favorable legal environment and attractive tax climate, Luxembourg offers an exceptional range of assets and opportunities for doing business in Europe. Luxembourg thus can be the ideal base for Indian companies who want to establish a permanent base within the European Union
  • For several decades, the Luxembourg government has been implementing a vigorouseconomic development and diversification policy which has made it possible to successfully reshape the country’s economic structure. From a steel-based economy, Luxembourg has developed into a world-renowned international financial centre and prime business location. Promoting the financial centre is an exercise of utmost importance for the country. However the country also needs to diversify its economy, in order to escape too heavy dependence on its sole banking industry which makes up for 30% of the GDP. FII is the business of Luxembourg. They invest in stocks and support the economy of India. 131 of Indian companies are listed on Luxembourg Stock Exchange.
  • The government thus puts emphasis on developing new sectors such as ICT, e-commerce and media, automotive components, materials and plastics, logistics, health and environmental technologies. Today, the results of this policy are clear.
  • Luxembourg is home to best-in-class companies playing on a global level-ArcelorMittal in steel, Cargolux in air freight, SES in satellites, and RTL Group in media are today leaders in their fields and are headquartered and/or come from Luxembourg origins. Gradually Luxembourg is turning into an IT hub too. Prominent Luxembourg companies in e-commerce space are Amazon and eBay. Skype is also a Luxembourg company. Social gaming companies have presence in Luxembourg.
  • Many Indian companies need a solid logistical base in Europe to distribute their products. Located in the heart of Europe, with excellent telecommunications and logistics infrastructure, Luxembourg is the  ideal hub to distribute goods throughout the entire European single market.
  • Special emphasis will be on the automotive sector. Due to the proximity of 22 major automobile manufacturing units within a radius of 300 km, Luxembourg has become a regional center of sorts for automobile components.
  • As far as taxation is concerned, Luxembourg has a good taxation rates. VAT is 15-25% and it would be favourable to Indian companies to facilitate investment in Luxembourg.
  • Corporate tax is just 30% in Luxembourg. Fiscal advisor is necessary when you wish to invest in Luxembourg.
  • We at Embassy are committed to help Indian companies to explore the business opportunities.
  • Luxembourg is a very tourist attraction country and there are 25 Indian restaurants.
  • H.E Mr. Gaston Stronck concluded his speech by thanking all present and the EU Chamber for creating an excellent opportunity to meet business people from different sectors.

Dr. Renu Shome, Director The Council of EU Chambers of Commerce in India proposed vote of thanks.  She thanked H.E. Mr. Gaston Stronck Ambassador Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg to India, Mr. Charles Schmit, First secretary, Embassy of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg and Mr Ashok Kadakia, Honorary Consul of Luxembourg in Mumbai and all present for gracing the occasion.

She stated that EU India Chamber has undertaken many programmes in the past year for its members, with the purpose of getting the industry together and sharing its common view with regards to promoting trade and commerce between India and European Union. Chamber will always strive to promote the trade relations between both the regions and undertake many such activities which shall help our members to know about the latest happenings with regards to EU India Trade.

Dr Shome also mentioned that Chamber was privileged to host the meeting in honour of Mr. Stronck in past. We are aware His Excellency has taken many steps to strengthen and improve the relations between India & Luxembourg and we at Chamber are very happy to organize this meeting in his honour.

Dr. Shome sincerely thanked the Principal Sponsor –Seahorse Group of Companies whose support made the meeting successful. She also thanked Citibank for supporting the event.