What is Luxembourg’s business plan?
With a domestic market of just over half a million people, we have no choice but to work closely with other countries in an open, flexible and pragmatic fashion. We help them trade, invest and raise capital.
How are you working with China in financial services?
There are several strands to this relationship, including helping their drive towards the internationalisation of the renminbi. The clearest manifestation of our partnership is that the six largest Chinese banks have already, or will soon, have their European headquarters in Luxembourg. They have been attracted by the country’s flexibility and also its solidity, as demonstrated by the triple A score from all three major credit rating agencies. One of these banks, ICBC Luxembourg, was designated as a renminbi clearing house last year, adding yet another dimension to our country’s ability to serve the Chinese and world economy.
The relationship goes beyond finance though.
Yes. In fact the China and Luxembourg relationship dates back to cooperation in the steel industry in the 19th century. More recently, cooperation has intensified regarding airfreight logistics and e-commerce. There are now more than 40 cargo flights a week between the two countries making the airport here a hub for Chinese goods entering Europe. As well, the major Chinese e-commerce and e-payment player Alibaba has chosen Luxembourg as its operational base to service the European single market.
Why should Chinese business people consider Luxembourg?
Despite the impression given in the press, the European economy remains fundamentally strong and full of opportunity. Last year alone, we have had double-digit growth in both export and imports between China and the European Union, and Luxembourg is the perfect access point. My country may be small, but that gives us the ability to listen and be flexible. The result is that we continue to build on a good relationship with Chinese businesses. I invite anyone to contact my office to discuss any plans they might have. I am always willing to listen and discuss possibilities.