Paving the way to Expo 2020 Dubai!
Official Luxembourg Trade Mission to the UAE
From 26 to 30 January 2020, the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, in close collaboration with the Ministry of the Economy, the Embassy of Luxembourg in Abu Dhabi, and the Luxembourg Trade & Investment Office, organised an official trade mission to Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The official mission was headed by His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, Guillaume of Luxembourg, the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Economy and Minister of Health, Mr Etienne Schneider, and the Minister of Finance, Mr Pierre Gramegna.
The commercial delegation, led by the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, was composed of 62 companies with a total of over 90 representatives from a variety of sectors, primarily from health tech, logistics, and space. Approximately 50 representatives from institutional partners participated, including the Ministry of the Economy, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Research and Higher Education, as well as the Luxembourg School of Hotels and Tourism, Luxembourg for Finance, ALFI, LHoFT, the Luxembourg Space Agency, the Luxembourg Institute of Health, and the National Research Fund, just to name a few. The detailed brochure can be found attached.
The aim of this mission was to demonstrate to participating companies the upcoming opportunities that the Expo 2020 Dubai will offer and to explore possible future economic cooperation. This official trade mission to the UAE granted a great opportunity for Luxembourg companies to establish new business links and to get in touch with local key partners regarding assistance and advice on access to the region.
On the first day, three separate but parallel sectorial programs were organised.
The space delegation took part in the very first forum of its kind, the ‘UAE-Luxembourg Space Investor Forum’, where Luxembourg-based space companies and their UAE counterparts offered a platform to exchange on investment opportunities and promotion strategies in front of businesses and high-level officials from both countries. The event, held at the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) financial centre, was opened by the ADGM’s CEO, Dr Ahmad bin Abdulla Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, who welcomed the Luxembourg delegation (of 50) to the event. After Minister Etienne Schneider’s keynote speech, the two national Space Agencies took the stage to present their respective organisations and strategies. While the UAE space agency is primarily focusing on long-term space colonisation (e.g. Emirates Mars Mission), the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA) is looking to exploit the universe’s infinite pool of resources. There are many opportunities for collaboration and cross-border investment between the two agencies.
Luxembourg companies SES, New Space Capital, and Orbital Ventures also took the occasion to exhibit their approaches to investment in space. A presentation of the European Investment Bank as well as a ‘startup pitch session’ concluded the forum before the delegation made its way back to Dubai.
Meanwhile, the Luxembourg health tech delegation composed of 29 health professionals and experts were invited to visit the renowned King’s College Hospital in Dubai. The Hospital’s CEO, Mr Christian Schumacher, introduced the group to the history and specifications of his health centre. The hospital’s Chief Innovation Officer then shared with the audience the future technological and integration vision of King’s College. Starting in January 2019 with 100 beds, 6 operation theatres and 70 fulltime doctors, 40,000 patients were successfully treated. The COO of King’s College concluded the presentation part of the visit by listing the clear benefits for the patient experience of such a modern hospital. The delegation was then offered two separate tours of the hospital, focusing on either technology platforms or patient experience, respectively.
In parallel, a delegation of 25 logistics professionals and officials made their way to the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD). The KIZAD is a multibillion-dollar industrial park and ports operation on a greenfield site near Abu Dhabi. Representatives of KIZAD presented their strategy to the delegation before leaving the floor to the Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy’s Director for logistics, Mr Daniel Lieberman, who gave insights into Luxembourg’s logistics industry.
The second day began with the official Luxembourg-Dubai Business Forum at the premises of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In a conference room with a view over Dubai’s marina, the delegation, in an audience of 200 people overall, were welcomed by H.E. Mr Majid Saif Al Ghurair. His Royal Highness the Crown Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg then officially opened the forum with a speech highlighting his personal link to the UAE. Minister Etienne Schneider then presented his keynote speech in which he addressed the recently signed agreements establishing a regular economic dialogue and a closer cooperation with the Dubai Future Foundation in the startups sector, before leaving the floor to Minister Pierre Gramegna, who painted a picture of the future of Europe’s financial sector after Brexit and Luxembourg’s potential as a green finance centre.
Carlo Thelen, CEO and Director General of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, presented a number of highlights about the Grand Duchy’s economy and bilateral trade relations. Luxembourg and the UAE are alike in many ways: both offer safety and a high quality of life, combine tradition and new developments, have an ongoing need to adapt to a low-natural-resources based economy, and are inclusive and multicultural.
Mr Omar Khan, Director of International Relations at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s presented the prospects and outlook for Dubai’s economy, concluding the forum (presentation attached) and kicking off the business-to-business (B2B) part of the day. A total of 30 Luxembourg companies had tailor-made meetings arranged with on average about 7 local companies each (totalling an impressive 200+ B2Bs). These meetings, organised by the local Chamber of Commerce, provided companies with an array of prospects over the course of the afternoon on the second day of the mission, 28 January.
Simultaneously, the entire health tech delegation made its way to Arab Health, the largest professional health fair in the Middle East, to visit Luxembourg’s national pavilion at the fair in the presence of HRH the Crown Prince and Minister Etienne Schneider. The national pavilion, co-organised by the Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy and the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, unites a number of Luxembourg health-tech companies (flyer attached) for the second year in a row. After a brief visit for high-level officials, Luxembourg’s health professionals had the chance to visit the fair, bringing together more than 4,200 exhibitors, and network with colleagues and international prospects during the afternoon. Many decided to return to the fair on Wednesday to follow up on the encounters they had the day before.
The second day of the official trade mission was concluded festively with a business reception held for Luxembourg companies and their business contacts. The Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce took the opportunity to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry, reinforcing and making official the already strong cooperation between the two entities.
On the third and final day, three agreements were concluded to allow the Luxembourg pavilion to function properly for the duration of the exhibition. The first agreement was signed between the GIE Luxembourg@Expo 2020 Dubai with the Jumeirah Group for the operation of the restaurant in the Luxembourg pavilion. The Ecole d’Hôtellerie et de Tourisme du Luxembourg (EHTL) concluded a general partnership agreement with the RAK Ceramics group allowing students and teachers to participate in training on tableware. EHTL also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management (EAHM) that provides EHTL students access to EAHM accommodation facilities for the duration of their stay in Dubai.
Following the signing sessions, the participating companies could partake in an information workshop on the business opportunities for Luxembourg companies during the Expo 2020 Dubai. After a brief introduction by Mrs Maggy Nagel, Commissioner General for the Luxembourg Pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai, Mr Carlo Thelen of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce presented the chamber’s ambitious commercial programme composed of six trade missions and more (more info here: www.cc2020.lu). Mr Loïc Bertoli, Executive Director of the Luxembourg Trade and Investment Office, then presented the services offered by his office for Luxembourg companies, before handing the floor to Mr Daniel Sahr, Director of the Luxembourg Pavilion, who concluded the workshop with information on opportunities offered in the pavilion, including rental conditions of the majilis (meeting room) and the multifunctional space, both inside the pavilion.
Government officials, as well as the main sponsors of the pavilion (i.e. the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, SES, and Post Luxembourg) then visited the pavilion’s construction site.
Meanwhile, the business delegation enjoyed a visit to Dubai South and the Emirates SkyPharma Center. Dubai South is an economic zone that supports a number of activities including logistics, aviation, commercial, exhibition, humanitarian, residential and other related businesses around Al Maktoum International Airport, the new airport with a projected annual capacity of 12 million tonnes of cargo and 160 million passengers. This visit concluded the official trade mission, which, besides being a commercial success in itself, confirms the growing interest in the region as well as the Universal Expo to come. More information on the programme offered by the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce during Expo 2020 Dubai can be found here: www.cc2020.lu.