From December 2 to 7, the Chamber of Commerce of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, organised an economic mission to Chile, Uruguay and Argentina, in order to tighten the bilateral relations between our countries. This mission has been prepared in collaboration with Luxembourg for Finance, ALFI and Film Fund Luxembourg and with the local support of the Cámara Chileno Belgo Luxemburguesa de Comercio A.G. and Mr. Juan Manuel Fuentes, Honorary Consul in Chile as well as the Belgian Economic & Trade Commissioners located respectively in Montevideo and Buenos Aires. The programme was focusing on the financial sector, the audiovisual sector and the startup ecosystem, although all members of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce were welcome to participate.
After one intense week, the 34 Luxembourgish participants who took part in the mission came back with many new contacts. They also discovered new business opportunities thanks to, on the one hand, the business forums that have been organised in each city, with the support of local institutions, and, on the other hand, the individual business meetings that had been pre-arranged.
The forums included a presentation of the Luxembourg economy as well as one of the economy of the host country , followed by 2 different sessions taking place in parallel: the first one about the Luxembourg Financial center moderated by Tom Theobald, Deputy CEO of Luxembourg for Finance and the second session about the audiovisual sector, moderated by Françoise Lentz, Head of Promotion and International Relations of Film Fund Luxembourg. During the finance session, panelists discussed how, thanks to its role as leading global investment fund hub and its international capital markets ecosystem, Luxembourg can be leveraged to raise capital and reach European and global investors. During the audiovisual session, local participants could discover the Luxembourgish audiovisual sector and of its counterpart in the host country.
Each seminar gathered between 100 and 150 guests and almost 200 meetings were arranged in total for 14 Luxembourgish companies/institutions. In addition, two official receptions have been organised, with the support of the local Belgian Embassies in Santiago and Buenos Aires, to which Luxembourgish participants could invite business partners and prospects. Also, in order to spread the word and promote the economic mission as well as the Luxembourg Trade and Invest platform, dedicated to the economic promotion of Luxembourg, a social media campaign was deployed on Twitter and linkedin, using the #LUmission2LATAM. The new promotional movie “A quick look at Luxembourg” has also been translated into Spanish for the occasion.
The programme started in Chile, which is a safe place to do business, as confirmed by risk ratings agencies. Its competitive edge and solid economic foundation makes Chile OECD’s first and only South American economy.
The links between Chile and Luxembourg are excellent. After Brazil, Chile is the second largest economic partner of Luxembourg in South America. With a total amount of 199.5 millions EUR in 2017, the volume of exchanges of goods and services competes with the volume of exchanges Luxembourg has with Mexico. Most of the exchanges are services (95%) and mostly financial services (80%), although some famous Luxembourgish industrial companies are present in Chile, such as Dupont de Nemours, Paul Wurth, or ArcelorMittal.
Despite the huge geographical distance between Luxembourg and Chile, business opportunities between the world’s longest country and Luxembourg, the second-smallest country in the European Union, are various, among others in the field of finance (80% of Chilean pension funds are domiciled in Luxembourg) but also in the audiovisual sector. Even if the Chilean audiovisual sector is not as important as the Argentinian (the most important in the region), it is a growing sector, part of the creative industries which has been in the focus of ProChile, the Chilean government’s export promotion bureau for a few years. Creative industries have one fastest growth worldwide, increasing by 10,8% per year during the period 2002 to 2011. The value generated by Chile's creative industries is estimated to amount to 2.2% of GDP (2013), 1.6% higher than in 2010 (the National Council of Culture and the Arts, CNCA, 2016). In Chile this sector comprises more than 30,000 companies, 3% of the national total.
Chile also features a growing startup community, since the government wants to make Chile one of the leaders in innovation in the Latam region and has fixed as a new goal in 2015 to help startups to reach out globally from Chile. Luxembourg could well be their hub to enter the European market and that was one of the topics covered in the delivered presentations. During the “Luxembourg-Chile Business Forum”, the Chamber of Commerce of Santiago and the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce signed a Memorandum of Understanding. This MoU aims at strengthening the partnership between the 2 institutions.
In the evening, participants has the opportunity to taste the famous Chilean drink “pisco sour” and network with high level guests during the official reception organised at the Residence of the newly appointed Belgian Ambassador, Geert Criel. On the second day, in parallel with the business meetings, a part of the delegation paid a visit to Start up Chile, the oldest and most important public incubator in Chile, created 8 years ago.