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From October 23 to 27, Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium, representing His Majesty the King, will lead an economic mission to the Commonwealth of Australia. This is the first economic mission to this country since the mission chaired in 2012 by His Royal Highness Prince Philippe - then Crown Prince - who visited five cities in Australia and two in New Zealand. A large economic and academic delegation will travel to the Antipodes to reinforce Belgium's image as a preferred partner and gateway to the European market, enabling the world's 12th-largest economy to take advantage of new opportunities arising from the forthcoming conclusion of an ambitious trade agreement with the European Union.
Official delegation and participants
Princess Astrid will be accompanied by a ministerial delegation comprising the Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Affairs, Foreign Trade and Federal Cultural Institutions, Hadja Lahbib, the Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region, Rudi Vervoort, the Vice-Minister-President of the Walloon Government and Minister for the Economy, Foreign Trade, Regional Planning and Agriculture, Mr. Willy Borsus, and the Minister of Finance and Budget, Housing and Heritage, Mr. Matthias Diependaele, representing the Flemish Government.
The official delegation will be accompanied by over 300 participants, including representatives of several companies, business federations, chambers of commerce and other organizations active in Belgium's key economic sectors. They will take part in a rich program of meetings with local companies ("B2B"), seminars and site visits to the main players in the Belgian economy present in Australia. Representatives from the academic world will also be present to strengthen cooperation with Australian universities, which value Belgium for its scientific excellence.
The sectors covered by the Princely Economic Mission to Australia are life sciences and pharmaceuticals, green hydrogen, offshore wind energy, port logistics, infrastructure, sports technology, the entertainment industry and the food sector. The mission will take place in Sydney and Melbourne, the country's two main economic centers.
The Princely Economic Missions are organized jointly by the FPS Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, the Foreign Trade Agency and the three regional agencies responsible for promoting trade and investment (Flanders Investment & Trade/FIT, Brussels Invest & Export /hub.brussels, Agence Wallonne à l'Exportation et aux Investissements étrangers/Awex).
Two countries separated by distance, but very close in terms of values
Australia and Belgium have always been close partners. Relations between our two countries are founded on strong historical ties dating back to the First World War, when some 300,000 Australian volunteers came to fight on Belgian soil, and several thousand sadly lost their lives in the process. In Sydney and Melbourne, a tribute will be paid to these fallen soldiers, without whom Belgium would not have remained the independent, democratic nation it is today. Today, Belgium and Australia continue to work together to defend a rules-based international order, as well as multilateralism, human rights, the rule of law and sustainable development. These shared values are conducive to investment and the strengthening of our respective economies.
During the economic mission, Princess Astrid and Minister Lahbib will also meet the Governor-General of Australia, Mr David John Hurley, the Governor of the State of New South Wales, Ms Margaret Beazley, and the Governor of the State of Victoria, Ms Margaret Gardner. Minister Lahbib will also make a short stopover in the Australian capital Canberra for talks with her counterparts, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ms Penny Wong, and the Minister for Trade and Tourism, Mr Don Farrell.
The full program and all useful information on the Belgian Economic Mission to Australia are available on the following website: https://www.belgianeconomicmission.be
Follow the Belgian Economic Mission to Australia on our social media channels: #BEmissionAUS
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