The Potential Of Doing Business In India Is Huge: Belgian Ambassador Jan Luykx
BW Businessworld talks to Jan Luykx, Ambassador of H.M the King of the Belgians on the 70th-anniversary celebration, and the current status of Indo-Belgian ties
Located in the heart of Western Europe, Belgium enjoys a key position in the European Union, with the country's capital Brussels which also serves as the EU capital. As one of the six founding members of the EU, it houses many national and international organizations. It has always been a prospective marketplace, in business with all the countries. Belgian has a strong hold of exports which amount to almost 80 per cent of the national GDP. Belguim is the 13th largest exporting country in the world. It also ranks 5th in Ernst& Young European attractiveness survey. India and Belguim complete 70 years of friendship this year. BW Businessworld talks to Jan Luykx, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium on the 70th-anniversary celebration, and the current status of Indo-Belgian ties.
Where does the Indo-Belgium relationship stand at the moment?
The India-Belgium relationship is excellent at the moment. This year we complete 70 years of friendship. We were among one of the first countries to recognize independent India and the first ambassador accredited to newly appointed India, was the Belgian ambassador. We have had excellent relationships in the last 70 years and they have increased in all domains. We are building on everything that is there, it is only a matter of scale, we are scaling up everything that we can. We want the Indian public to know Belgium better. We want more Indians to visit Belgium, and we think there is a great potential for growth. We are also commemorating the Indian soldiers who fought for Belgium in the First World War this year. We will also present an exhibition dedicated to them in New Delhi that will be opened by the Belgian King when he visits India in November.
With increasing focus on bilateral ties between countries, what are the prospects of an Indo-Belgium FTA?
The process to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement between India and the EU, is in a little bit of a dormant state at the moment. Any type of new ambitious FTA between India and EU would be very fruitful for Belgium. We are a very economically free country, which means the state as such doesn't really intervene very much. It is our businesses that have to do it. Our businesses live to the large degree of foreign trade so obviously, we try to see the potential in India. Our companies are coming to India, and we try to help them to find their way around. The potential of doing business with India is huge and big in all domains.
What do you think would be the impact of GST on the Indo-Belgium relationship?
I don't think the impact would be too high, mainly because it is an internal taxation system and a reform for the country. In general, if it turns out to be good for the Indian economy, it will be good for the economic and commercial relationship between India-Belgium. The two countries already have a good relationship. It can only get better when the Indian economy grows more.
Can you talk about the direct effect of Brexit on the Belgian economy?
The question here would be, that it would depend on the kind of Brexit that will happen. As yet we don't know what kind of Brexit would take place. The process of negotiation has just started. We are waiting to see how it develops. The UK is our neighbouring country and we do have a trade relationship with the country and of course, any type of Brexit will have an impact on Belgium. What kind of impact is difficult to say yet.