Industries across sectors here have huge opportunity in Belgium if they want to expand in the European market, Jean-Francois Aernouts, Trade Commissioner, Consulate General of Belgium, Chennai, said here on Tuesday.
At a meeting on Brussels - Your Gateway to Europe, organised by the hub.brussels Invest & Export, the trade agency of the Consulate of the Kingdom of Belgium, jointly with the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Coimbatore, Mr. Aernouts said that located at the centre of Europe and serving as its capital, Brussels gave businesses several advantages. It had unmatched connectivity and an international talent pool. Many companies tapped opportunities in Africa too through Brussels.
The Belgian government supported and encouraged innovation. It (innovation) is our asset, he said. We have a real estate that is competitive. It is an affordable city for warehouses and prime office space. This will be a cost saver for industries. Since January 1, 2018, the Corporate Tax had been reduced to 20 % from 33.99 % for Small and Medium-scale Enterprises and there were incentives too. This was to attract foreign direct investment. If you are into research and development there are so many incentives, he added.
Earlier, Mr. Aernouts told The Hindu that the bigger Coimbatore area, including Tiruppur and Erode, had huge potential for business between Belgium and India. Currenlty, 80 % to 85 % of the bilateral trade between the two countries was diamonds. The Indian government had increased taxes on diamonds. So, there was an impact. I am here to create awareness that Brussels is there, we have something good to offer. Business co-operation between the two countries was growing in non-diamond sectors, in areas such as machinery, petro chemicals and pharmaceuticals. As many as 170 Indian companies had presence in Belgium and 140 Belgium companies in India. Brussels had incubation facilities that businesses could use for three months to study the market and then plan on opening facilities in Belgium.
Lakshmi Narayanaswamy, president of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Coimbatore, said at the meeting that Coimbatore was a city driven by private enterprises and had over 50,000 SMEs. These industries worked in diverse areas, including pumpsets, automobile components, textile machinery, and jewellery. Belgium was the second largest trading partner for India in Europe.