Luxembourg’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, HE Mr. Étienne Schneider led an economic mission to India from 2nd to 4th March. Many high level meetings took place during the mission in Delhi and Mumbai.

A few significant Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) were signed between the two countries to bolster economic cooperation. Among them is a MoU signed between Luxembourg's Paul Wurth and Heavy Engineering Corporation Ltd of India which will see the two companies collaborate in the manufacture of coke ovens.

"Present in India since 1993, Paul Wurth has played a significant role in the development of the local steel industry. Today, this partnership offers new opportunities for cooperation, especially in terms of research and development", commented the Deputy Prime Minister of Luxembourg. In the presence of the CEO of Paul Wurth, Georges Rassel, the Indian government announced its plans to strengthen the efforts in increasing steel production while focusing more on new technologies including energy efficiency.

As part of this mission various political meetings with the key ministries of India were held in Delhi. The Luxembourg delegation was received by Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley; Minister of Steel, Mines and Labour & Employment, Narenda Singh Tomar and the Minister of Heavy Industries, Anant Geete.

During the meeting with the Indian Minister of Steel, Mr. Etienne Schneider appreciated the various strategic initiatives undertaken by the Indian government. . He further explained how steel industry had played a key role in Luxembourg and that some companies from Luxembourg are leading players in the modern steel and green technology space in India. In last one decade, the country has diversified into sectors like financial, information-communication-technology, space, satellite and logistics, he added. Mr. Schneider sought details of India’s experience in facing the challenges of steel sector so that their country could emulate India. 

 

Business seminars in the cities of Delhi and Mumbai were also a part of the trade mission. The seminars were organised by the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with the Embassy of Luxembourg in India and local partners like the Confederation of Indian industries (CII).

The seminar held at the Oberoi hotel in New Delhi was attended by commercial delegation of fifteen Luxembourgish companies as a means of developing business relations in India. About 150 participants were present for the several interventions and Q&A session which highlighted the Grand Duchy as a gateway to the European single market.

In this context, a MoU was signed between the ‘Chambers of Commerce of Luxembourg’ and the ‘Indian Chamber of Commerce’. The MoU will facilitate joint promotion and development of areas of mutual interest for economic and trade relationship between India and Luxembourg. It seeks to create favourable economic conditions for further co-operation between member companies of Luxembourg chamber and India through ICC. 

The signing of memorandum of understanding gains significance, particularly in view of the "Make in India" initiative taken up by the government to promote manufacturing in the country. The initiative is poised to attract entrepreneurs from member countries of Luxembourg chamber, to participate in manufacturing in India in future. 

During his speech, Minister Schneider stated that the objective of the mission is to identify areas of convergence between Indian and Luxembourg economies, whilst Nicolas Mackel, CEO of Luxembourg for Finance, outlined the opportunities offered by the Luxembourg financial centre.

Minister Schneider talked about the bilateral trade between Indian & Luxembourg. Hardly US$ .51 million, it should be double in next 3 years, as Luxembourg is growing at 5.2% and has a control on inflation and attracts second largest investments in Europe. He further said “We have very good infrastructure and we are able to supply auto and auto components in the European region to various countries in Europe due to uninterrupted good logistics network of about 400 kilometres. We are well connected with the European ports such as Antwerp, Rotterdam and Amsterdam, which makes us important continent in the region for doing business. We are one of the leaders in financial services and are looking at investment in India and that is one of the main objectives for visiting India. We are here to explore possibilities of investment, joint ventures and technology transfer in various sectors.”

In an another seminar held at Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai representatives of over 100 Indian companies were present to participate in interventions themed on “Luxembourg – a valued and strategic partner for India”. Speaking at this seminar, Minister Étienne Schneider said, "If I had to draw a first conclusion from this week’s visit, I can say with great confidence that I see a lot of potential for increased cooperation between Luxembourg and India."

Minister Schneider also mentioned "We tend to see ourselves as bridge builders and I am keen to start building additional bridges between our countries and our people".

A financial seminar was also organised at Hotel Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai to familiarize Indian finance industry representatives with Luxembourg’s strong position as a finance hub worldwide. The event was held in collaboration with BNP Paribas and the Luxembourg for Finance. The event was attended by around 20 financial industry experts of leading finance sector companies in India.

A MoU between All India Association of Industries (AIAI) and World Trade Centre Mumbai with the Chamber of Commerce of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Indian Business Chamber of Luxembourg was also signed with aim to increase bilateral trade between the two countries.

Luxembourg offers an investor friendly economy and one of the lowest corporate tax among EU countries. The economic ties between Luxembourg and India are developing. The bilateral trade between two countries is about 51 million US$ and growing. Global depository receipts of nearly 150 Indian companies are already traded on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and it is also among first countries to issue Masala bonds from Indian issuers. Reflecting its leading position in global finance industry, Luxembourg Stock Exchange recently issued its 100th green bond. A small country with around 5 lakh people and a strong GDP, Luxembourg is strategically placed at the heart of Europe, making it a convenient logistic centre for companies. Luxembourg’s largest freight cargo player Cargolux currently operates 2 weekly flights from Chennai and Mumbai.