E-mobility, logistics and the circular economy: Focus sectors for the Netherlands-Luxembourg cooperation
On Wednesday, 15 October, Carlo Thelen, CEO / Director General and Cindy Tereba, Director International Affairs, had the pleasure of receiving at the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce His Excellency Cees Bansema, new Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and Stefan van Look, Senior Economic Attaché at the Embassy.
In the framework of a post-COVID recovery, finding solutions for companies is crucial for both countries, and includes favouring cooperation between them. In this sense, three main sectors of activity were pinpointed during the discussions between the two partners: e-Mobility, circular economy and logistics.
e-Mobility is one of the main ambitions in the Dutch economy, and the country offers a great arena for the development of such solutions. Moreover, the Netherlands aims at being a reference in the field and strongly focuses on international cooperation, namely with partners such as Luxembourg. It was indeed the focus of the latest collaboration between the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Chamber of Commerce, the ‘Netherlands-Luxembourg Smart & e-Mobility Day’, which took place in July 2019, counting almost 130 participants.
A sustainable and circular economy was the theme of the ‘Business Forum Luxembourg-Netherlands’ economic forum organised at the Chamber of Commerce with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands as part of the State Visit of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima to Luxembourg in May 2018. Around 180 participants from both countries gathered for the occasion, showing the interest in the sector, but also for the development of business partnerships among the neighbouring countries.
Another important sector identified was logistics. With a strategic location in Europe and its four major seaports, the Netherlands offers a great opportunity for international connections, and Luxembourg is an important logistics hub in the European market, namely with the multimodal hub Bettembourg and its strong cargo-airline activity. Inland navigation is also concerned, with fluvial connections from Europe meeting at the Port of Mertert, Luxembourg’s major asset in the domain.
The discussion also turned to the close relationships between the two countries. It is true that the importance of bilateral relationships between the Netherlands and Luxembourg is also anchored in their cooperation in the framework of the Benelux Union. Alongside Belgium, the three countries have had a common vision to increase the prosperity of their citizens, as well as to strengthen the single market within this strong politico-economic union. To enhance the closely-knit business partnerships among the three countries, Carlo Thelen and Cindy Tereba presented the initiative and the projects of the Benelux Business Roundtable. Constituted in 2015, which aims at being a platform for businesses in the Benelux region, focusing on four main themes: energy, labour mobility, infrastructure and the digital single market.
This visit was also an opportunity for Carlo Thelen to explain the role and functions of the Chamber of Commerce in the economic fabric of Luxembourg, as well as the Chamber of Commerce group. Cindy Tereba described the diplomatic and economic network of the Chamber of Commerce abroad, composed of Luxembourg’s embassies, trade attachés from the International Affairs department, and Luxembourg Trade and Investment Offices (LTIOs). Recent examples of the current development of this network are the official launch of the LTIO in Casablanca and the foreseen opening of the trade office in London.
The Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce attaches great importance to the strong relations with its neighbouring countries, even more so in this particular context. The Netherlands is a close partner for Luxembourg, and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands an effective and reliable ally in this regard. H.E. Cees Bansema shared his enthusiasm for continuing to collaborate closely together. Not only were bilateral plans discussed that aim to bring together Dutch and Luxembourg entrepreneurs, but also possibilities of trilateral collaborations within the Benelux countries. On that note, H.E. Thomas Lambert, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, was also received for a courtesy visit a few days prior.
The fruitful exchanges during the meeting were also a good indicator for fostering future successful collaborations. Concrete business opportunities were highlighted, and upcoming activities organised by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Chamber of Commerce will most certainly be valuable to entrepreneurs of both countries in these recovery times.