As part of extending its strategic partnership with India, Belgium is looking for technical skill from India. The country is also exploring opportunities in sectors like IT, ITeS, healthcare, infrastructure, alternative energy and food products in Kerala, said Kathlijn Fruithof, Trade Commissioner of The Brussels Capital Region in India. She was speaking to Express during her visit to Kochi recently.
To increase the presence of Belgium in India a consulate general office will be opened in Chennai by November end.
Last week the country opened a new visa application centre in Chennai.
“We hope that the Consulate General office will be inaugurated by Belgium’s crown prince Philip. He, along with around 300 company officials, will visit New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai in November. Members of the business delegation will also visit Kerala to explore the opportunities here,” said Kathlijn Fruithof. As of now around 80 Belgian companies are operating in India. Around 14,000 Indians are residing in Belgium. The volume of trade between the countries was 13 billion Euros in 2012.
The Chennai Trade Commission office of the Brussels Capital Region started operations in January this year. Kathlijn said that no other city in Europe rivals Brussels for its strategic location at the nexus of economic and political decision making in Europe.
“From Brussels, a business person can have easy access to London, Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt. The rent for setting up an office space is cheaper in Brussels compared to major European cities. You will also meet people who speak many languages there easily. If anyone wants to set up a business in Brussels we will provide arrangements to know the place and also three month free office space. The country is also providing fast-track visa processing for companies which have invested in Belgium. In Kerala we are looking for partnership with mid-sized companies in the SME sector,” she said