Lux­em­bourg looks to­ward ex­cit­ing year

The China Post - - SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT - BY DIM­ITRI BRUYAS Sup­ple­ment Writer

Af­ter five years of ac­tiv­i­ties at the Lux­em­bourg Trade and In­vest­ment Of­fice (LTIO, ), the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Tai­wan and Lux­em­bourg has made a great deal of progress. Ahead of this year’s Na­tional Day, The China Post met Hugues Mignot, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the LTIO.The fol­low­ing is an edited tran­script of the con­ver­sa­tion.

Mr. Mignot: Two hun­dred years ago, a few weeks be­fore the bat­tle of Waterloo, the congress of Vi­enna re­shaped Napoleon’s em­pire, re­sult­ing in the cre­ation of three new na­tions which later were to be con­glom­er­ated un­der one ruler, King Wil­liam the 1st, Prince of Or­ange: Grand Duke of Lux­em­bourg and King of Bel­gium and Hol­land. The Benelux was born be­fore the let­ter.

With­out en­ter­ing into the de­tails, the sit­u­a­tion of Great Bri­tain in the Euro­pean Union, the drama of the mi­grants and the Trans-At­lantic ne­go­ti­a­tions are im­por­tant is­sues to re­main on the Com­mis­sion’s agenda, not-to-men­tion the Greek sit­u­a­tion which will have to be fol­lowed on a daily ba­sis. As far as the transat­lantic ne­go­ti­a­tions are con­cerned, it is for sure that the Transat­lantic Trade and In­vest­ment Part­ner­ship (TTIP) will not be con­cluded dur­ing the Lux­em­bourg pres­i­dency but dis­cus­sions will at all costs need to con­tinue.

Re­cently the min­is­ter of for­eign af­fairs stated that one of his pri­or­i­ties is the re­brand­ing of Lux­em­bourg to shred away an out­dated im­age of a tax par­adise. On track for the new gov­ern­ment is also the pur­suit of eco­nomic diver­si­fi­ca­tion from Lux­em­bourg’s bank­ing and fund­ing in­dus­try.

One such diver­si­fi­ca­tion is a fast grow­ing ICT sec­tor, now rank­ing in the world top 10 in terms of in­fra­struc­ture. It rep­re­sents more than 7 per­cent of Lux­em­bourg’s na­tional in­come thanks to sub­stan­tial public and pri­vate in­vest­ments, amount­ing to 4 per­cent of Lux­em­bourg’s GDP. Now 40 per­cent of Europe’s Tier IV Data Cen­ters are lo­cated in Lux­em­bourg and are about to reach the level of im­por­tance that the fi­nan­cial sec­tor rep­re­sents, with a to­tal ca­pac­ity of more than 40,000 m², and a turnover of more than 10 bil­lion eu­ros, not in­clud­ing sub­stan­tial in­vest­ments in high-speed elec­tronic data highways to all ma­jor Euro­pean cap­i­tals.

As it emerged out of the fi­nan­cial and fund­ing in­dus­tries, as a need for Lux­em­bourg’s bank­ing, fund­ing and wealth man­age­ment in­dus­tries, the new dig­i­tal econ­omy of­fered ini­tially plat­forms free of se­cu­rity breaches and in­tru­sions, which, as we all know, have be­come a ma­jor con­cern for the man­age­ment of pri­vate and public in­for­ma­tion. With its long tra­di­tion of bank se­crecy, Lux­em­bourg will con­tinue to in­no­vate in the field of elec­tronic and pri­vacy safety, and is now host­ing, for ex­am­ple, data from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, In­ter­pol, etc.

As a mat­ter of fact sev­eral ma­jor Tai­wanese ICT man­u­fac­tur­ers have de­cided, or are con­tem­plat­ing, to lo­cate their cloud busi­ness in Lux­em­bourg to bet­ter serve their in­ter­na­tional clients and of­fer two-way e-com­merce busi­ness in­fra­struc­tures to Asian com­pa­nies ea­ger to in­te­grate a fast-de­vel­op­ing dig­i­tal econ­omy of a com­mon Asian and Euro­pean mar­ket.

The Lux­em­bourg gov­ern­ment has been very co­op­er­a­tive in of­fer­ing cap­i­tal and other in­cen­tives to in­ter­ested Tai­wanese com­pa­nies within the “com­pe­ti­tion” reg­u­la­tory frame­work of the Euro­pean Union. It is there­fore no sur­prise that the an­nual “ICT Spring Fair” in Lux­em­bourg in­creas­ingly at­tracts Asian start-ups in­ter­ested in ini­ti­at­ing Euro­pean e-ven­tures through a Lux­em­bourg spring­board.

Diver­si­fi­ca­tion now also takes place, sim­i­lar to Tai­wan, into the newly emerg­ing biotech and eco-tech ini­tia­tives. The pres­ence of Big Data host­ing fa­cil­i­ties, as in­te­grated bio banks and the pres­ence of Europe’s youngest univer­sity of­fer ways and means of putting Tai­wanese com­pa­nies on the Euro­pean bio medicine map.

If the ter­mi­nol­ogy of “cir­cu­lar econ­omy” is now well in­tro­duced, the con­cept of re­cy­cling is not new. But to­day even more than be­fore the Lux­em­bourg gov­ern­ment is en­cour­ag­ing all ini­tia­tives al­low­ing us to save mil­lions of eu­ros in de-wast­ing tech­nolo­gies.

A good ex­am­ple of diver­si­fi­ca­tion in the field of tra­di­tional lo­gis­tics, it is worth not­ing that Lux­em­bourg has now di­rect train-to-sea links with Tur­key and en­cour­aged the in­vest­ment in a brand-new Freeport, ex­clu­sively de­voted to high-value stor­age and trad­ing of art, sim­i­lar to other art stor­age places in Geneva, Sin­ga­pore and very soon Bei­jing.

The Deputy Prime Min­is­ter of Lux­em­bourg, Eti­enne Sch­nei­der, vis­ited the “Paris Air­show” last week­end, as he be­lieves in the po­ten­tials of­fered by the space in­dus­try. He was cer­tainly think­ing of how the suc­cess­ful SES Com­pany can serve ad­di­tional video and other data stream­ing to the Euro­pean public and in­ter­na­tional public, con­sid­er­ing that dig­i­tal pay tele­vi­sion pen­e­tra­tion does not ex­ceed, in cer­tain coun­tries, 10 to 15 per­cent of the mar­ket.

The an­nounce­ment of the 50 bil­lion RMB Qual­i­fied For­eign In­sti­tu­tional In­vestor scheme, launched in Hong Kong in 2011 and ex­panded to other ju­ris­dic­tions since 2013 rec­og­nizes Lux­em­bourg as one of Europe’s main in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial cen­ters in ad­di­tion to dis­tribut­ing 67 per­cent of the world’s UCITS in­vest­ment funds and the largest in­vest­ment fund cen­ter in the world.

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