Posted on March 19, 2015

Belgium and Qatar have taken concrete steps at further reinforcing their robust bilateral economic relations through the awaited visit of  a high-level Belgian trade delegation presided over by HRH Princess Astrid, Representative of His Majesty the King.

Composed of 223 companies, 22 federations, two universities and 20 public organisations, the 400-people and 267 organisation-strong economic mission is expected to be deeply engaged in two days of productive exchanges of vital information and discussions with their Qatari counterparts aimed at attracting and facilitating major investments into both countries. The mission will kick off with the Qatari - Belgian Economic Forum 2015, which is to be held under the patronage of HE Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed Al Thani, Minister of Economy and Commerce. At the two-day event scheduled for 22-23 March 2015, several B2B meetings and networking opportunities are to be conducted, as well as sectorial events and seminars on Sports Infrastructure, Future Infrastructure Projects, Medical Technology, Energy and Technology cooperation between Qatar and Belgium, Clean Technology, and Brussels: International Arbitration Hub.

Additionally, HRH Princess Astrid, along with the Belgian government officials, are scheduled to have separate meetings with high-level Qatari officials, including HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Prime Minister of Qatar; HE Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed Al Thani, Minister of Economy and Commerce; HE Dr. Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and HE Dr. Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry.  On the cultural side, a visit to Katara and the Museum of Islamic Art are planned, as well as a meeting with her  HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums Authority.

 “Considering the extremely high level of representation of this mission, this is indeed a strong indication of the deep regard and importance that both countries give each other, specifically in terms of the huge potential for mutually beneficial business growth and development,” the Ambassador of Belgium in Qatar, HE Christophe Payot said. “As the official representatives of Belgium in Qatar, we are truly honoured to be able to push even deeper an already robust bilateral trade and economic relations between the two countries through this high-powered delegation’s visit.

Belgium and Qatar move to strengthen 2 [].jpg“I am convinced Belgian companies can bring a lot of expertise and know-how to partner with Qatar, not only in view of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but in the overall implementation of the National Vision 2030. We have already contributed to the construction of a lot of landmark buildings and major dredging and infrastructure works, and the best is still to come, especially in other sectors such as clean tech and water management,” he added. 

Apart from HRH Princess Astrid, some of the high-ranking Belgian government officials who are visiting Doha as part of delegation include HE Didier Reynders, Federal Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign affairs and European Affairs; HE Marie-Christine Marghem, Federal Minister of Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development; HE Jean-Claude Marcourt, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Economy, SMEs, Foreign Trade and New Technologies of the Walloon Regional Government as well as the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Higher Education of the French Community Government; HE Philippe Muyters, Flemish Minister for Work, Economics, Innovation and Sports ; HE Pieter De Crem, Federal Secretary of State for Foreign Trade; and HE Cécile Jodogne, Secretary of State for Foreign Trade & Investment for the Brussels-Capital Region and Minister of the French Community Commission in charge of Civil Service and Health Policy.

With an abundance of business and investment opportunities as well as expertise that can be explored by both Belgian and Qatari investors, the private and public organisations, Chambers of Commerce and Federations, and companies who are part of the delegation come from a wide range of major business sectors such as carbon, renewable and solar energy, water, higher education, IT, industrial & services, banking and finance, construction and infrastructure development, ports and airports, international business, research and consultancy, medical technology and pharmaceutical, sports technology, food (such as halal and Belgian chocolate), as well as independent entrepreneurs and SMEs. 

Belgium and Qatar move to strengthen 3 [].jpgAmong the notable private and public companies traveling with the group are BNP Paribas Fortis, Commerzbank AG, the Antwerp Port Authority, the Brussels Airport Company, Ghent University, the Université de Liège, Barco, A+E Consult, Besix Group, Daikin Europe, DB Schenker Logistics, DEME NV, The Belgian Chocolate Group, and a lot more.

“Being part of this delegation provides our companies with an excellent opportunity to explore the huge potential offered by a fast-growing market in Qatar,” said Mr. Marc Bogaerts, Director General of Belgian Foreign Trade Agency. “With its robust economic datas, rapid infrastructure developments and recognition as an influential player in a highly globalised economy, Qatar is certainly a market that Belgian companies have their sights on in terms of spreading their reach in the Gulf region, as well as a promising source of foreign investments that can help boost the desired expansion of Belgian businesses.” 

Being a joint initiative of the Belgian federal government and Belgium’s regions , the Government of Flanders along with the Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT), Government of Brussels-Capital Region with the Brussels Invest and Export agency, the Government of Wallonia and the Government of the French Community, and the Wallonia Export-Investment Authority (AWEX) will be also well-represented in the delegation.

Furthermore, among the private and public organisations, Chambers of Commerce and Federations represented in the delegation include different clubs of Agoria, the organisation representing the technology industry in Belgium such as their Carbon Energy Club, Infrastructure Club, Medical Technology Club, Renewable Energy Club, and Sports Technology Club; the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (ABLCC), Ardemac – Halal Club Brussels, Construction Confederation, Federation of Belgian Chambers of Commerce, Flanders’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and UNIZO – the Organisation of Independent Entrepreneurs and SMEs.