27 April 2018

Toespraak ter gelegenheid van Antwerp Forum

Welcome to you all Ladies and Gentlemen,

               - LU Kehua, vice Mayor Chongqing

               - ZHANG Chi, Minister-Counsellor – Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Kingdom of Belgium

               - ZHANG Yansheng, secretary general of the Academic Committee of China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC)

               - WANG Junke, Deputy Director General, Environment and Resources Protection Committee, The Standing Committee of Shaanxi Provincial People’s Congress

As vice-governor responsible for economics, agriculture, innovation and international partnerships of the Province of Antwerp, I am pleased to welcome you on the 4th edition of The Antwerp Forum.

Probably you rather associate the city of Antwerp with names as Rubens, Van Dijck or Jordaens or you immediately think about the second largest port or biggest petrochemical cluster of Europe .

Or even, if you did not know it yourself, someone at home most likely reminded you of the fact that Antwerp is the world’s most important trade center of diamants.

Arts, port, chemistry and diamants, are the first words people think of when you mention Antwerp. Nevertheless also agriculture and fashion are significant sectors in the province of Antwerp.

The province of Antwerp, containing the second largest port of Europe is the economical driver of Belgium and our Flemish region. More than one third of the investments and nearly half of the turn-over of Flanders is made in the province of Antwerp.  The port of Antwerp and by extension the broader logistic network of course plays a major role in this. 

The port of Antwerp, with the so-called lock of Kieldrecht, the biggest lock in the world with a size of 500 meters by 68 meters and a depth of 17.8 meters, is our gateway to the world.

The province of Antwerp has several partnerships with our direct neigbouring countries, but also with the Far East (Shaanxi, Chongqing and the Oblast of St-Peterburg).  Hospitality is one of our key assets. Our first partnership arose in 1985 with the Shaanxi province in China.

THE ANTWERP FORUM – Linking Business between China and Europe first saw light in 2011. The idea was to give European and Chinese managers an opportunity to exchange views on business cooperation and to pursue sustainable business relations.

China is not just one of the leading world economies, but is also more than ever paying attention to sustainable innovation in both development, production and overall business models.

This fourth edition of THE ANTWERP FORUM focuses on the future perspectives for China as a possible leader in the global move towards new business approaches and the impact and opportunities for various industries in Europe, such as cleantech, tourism, digital innovation and new technologies. 

And our regions will become closer, because yesterday there was the departure ceremony of the First Tangshan—Antwerp Regular Container Train. It is the first regular container train from Tangshan to Antwerp of Belgium, operated jointly by Tangshan Port Group, COSCO Shipping Lines Co., Ltd. and China Railway Container Transport Co., Ltd., from Tangshan to Antwerp, Belgium. It will become a new model and new opportunity to promote economic and trade cooperation between China and the province of Antwerp.

Be inspired and meet your future business partners during this one-day conference, focused on EU-China business.

The Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, POM Antwerp and the Antwerp Management School wish you a day filled with inspiring views and promising new contacts.

So, welcome in the province of Antwerp and enjoy The Antwerp Forum.