(Texte disponible uniquement en anglais)
Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen,
Over the last decades, Belgium and Korea have developed very intensive trade and investment ties. Both our economies are very focused on high productivity and on quality and excellence.
Geographically, we are surrounded by big neighbours: China and Japan in your case, and Germany, Britain and France in the case of Belgium. They are competitors, but also key trading partners. Furthermore, the vast majority of our companies are export-driven and generate most of their value from foreign trade.
Both our countries have also developed strong leadership in logistics and distribution.
And finally, we have a very important focus in common: we both attach top priority to innovation.
In Belgium, for example, we did innovate our taxation system for foreign investors. We introduced a notional interest deduction scheme for the equity of a foreign company investing in Belgium. You will hear all about that later today from Mr Wolfs.
If you listen carefully to the arguments we will put forward, you will be surprised by how favourable the investment climate is in Belgium.
All the authorities of my country, at federal and regional level, are doing their utmost to welcome new foreign partners.
Beyond the tax and other incentives we can offer, there are other key assets of Belgium in the global investment picture. There are over 3.000 organizations in Brussels whose main task is : to cover the activities of the European Union. They want to be as near as possible to this important economic decision making centre.
We also welcome hundreds of major industrial conglomerates which have set up an administration, distribution, financial or research centre in my country. They are attracted by our wide-ranging transport and logistics network and by the productivity and flexibility of our workforce.
Belgians work hard, but they also want to live well.
Most foreign investors consider the quality of life in Belgium to be among the most attractive in the world.
I therefore warmly invite our Korean partners to give serious thought to the investment climate and to the many other assets that Belgium can offer.
I thank you for attending this seminar, and I wish all of you every success and happiness.