IBCL celebrates third anniversary

"We're still at the beginning"

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Indian and Luxembourg business relations celebrated a landmark on Monday and launched a new initiative to grow their respective finance sectors together.

At the third anniversary of the Indian Business Chamber of Luxembourg (IBCL), chamber president Sudhir Kohli announced the launch of a new financial cluster within the IBCL to promote the interests of both countries.

“India's finance sector can learn lessons from Luxembourg. On the other hand Luxembourg can learn from India,” Mr Kohli said.

The cluster or think tank is one of six which the IBCL hopes to roll out in the coming years, focusing on different business development areas. Secretary General of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange Christian Descoups will be heading the first cluster group. He said: “The cluster's mission will aim at promoting common knowledge and a better understanding of activities in the financial sector in India and in Luxembourg.”

In addition, Mr Descoups said the cluster would help support existing business clients between countries and foster stronger links and growth. This he hopes to achieve by working with academic groups such as universities and business schools.

The event, hosted at the BGL BNP Paribas building in Kirchberg, attracted more than 80 attendees, many of which had turned up to hear key note speaker and Economy Minister Etienne Schneider.

The minister expressed a strong interest in boosting trade between the two countries and expects to lead a trade mission to India at the end of 2012 or the beginning of 2013.

He said: “Over the last years India has continuously recorded high growth rates and today it's one of the fastest growing economies. With a population of 1.2 billion people, India has a huge potential market offering numerous opportunities in a larger variety of areas.

“India and Luxembourg enjoy a long standing trade and economic relationship. Trade between the countries has been growing but it's certainly not up to its potential. I'm convinced it's not because of a lack of opportunity. Perhaps the reality is that we don't know each other well enough to do business together.”

Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce CEO Pierre Gramegna applauded the successes of the IBCL since its inauguration but said there was still work to be done.

“Figures of the financial services between Luxembourg and India show we're at the very beginning. India is ranked 50th among countries trading with Luxembourg in financial services. It tells us we're really far away from optimising the potential that exists," he said.

The next IBCL event will be held on June 12 looking at the supply chain in the pharmaceutical industry. The key note speaker will be Johnson & Johnson Chief Quality Officer and vice president worldwide Ajit Shetti.