Luxembourg Trade and Investment Office Shanghai Newsletter June 2016

Date: 15 Jun 2016

Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister Lead Business Delegation to China

A Luxembourg trade delegation visited China from May 1st to May 6th 2016. This delegation was headed by His Royal Highness the Crown Prince in presence of Her Royal Highness the Crown Princess and led by H.E. Mr. Étienne Schneider, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy.

The trip is part of a commitment started several years ago in order to deepen Sino-Luxembourg cooperation and friendship. The mission aimed to position Luxembourg as a center of innovation. The Chinese Government encourages enterprises to invest more in R&D, and Luxembourg tries to tap this growing market. This is especially true for the automobile sector and the Luxembourg automotive component industry. China has become by far the largest market for the car industry, and ultimately constitutes an enormous potential. Furthermore, as part of the diversification strategy of the Luxembourg economy, the tourism sector tries to promote the Grand Duchy in China and Luxembourg hopes to welcome more visitors from the Middle Kingdom.

The mission started with a reception in Hong Kong gathering the Luxembourg business delegation and the Grand Ducal business community based there. In Hong Kong, a seminar was organized to promote Luxembourg as a tourist destination. Chinese customers constitute a vast potential, be it tourists who stay for overnight or those who stay only for a few hours, but nonetheless have a large purchasing power. Within the Pearl River Delta Area, the trade delegation also visited the China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair) in Guangzhou.

The next stop of the trade mission was Shanghai in order to join H.R.H the Crown Prince and H.R.H. the Crown Princess. Further seminars took place in the fields of tourism promotion as well as trade promotion. Later on, a visit to the telecommunication equipment producer ZTE and their Research and Development Center were part of the program. ZTE showed interest in the potential of Luxembourg as a logistics platform in Europe.

The delegation celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the Consulate General of Luxembourg and the Luxembourg Trade and Investment Office in Shanghai. The event took place at the former Luxembourg Pavilion of the World Expo.

The day after the celebration, the main focus was on the automobile industry. The delegation visited the Shanghai International Automobile City. The signing of a MoU between Lux innovation and Shanghai International Auto City deepens the cooperation between Luxembourg and China in the automotive components sector. A visit of MG’s R&D center, as well as an automotive component workshop took place that same day.

Luxembourg is also an important player in the business aviation and that sector has strong ties with China. The official delegation met with the Chairman of China Mingsheng Investment, which is an important shareholder of Lux aviation, a Luxembourg company which operates the second largest business jet fleet globally.

Later, T.R.H. and the Deputy Prime Minister visited the first plane operated by a joint venture between another big player from Luxembourg in that industry, Global Jet and its Chinese partner Jinggong Group. This is the first joint venture with a non-Chinese partner operating in China in the business aviation field.

The third and last destination of the economic mission was Beijing, where a further seminar to promote Luxembourg as a tourist destination and a trade promotion seminar focused on innovation were organized. Finally, on May 6th, the delegation celebrated together with IEE and its Chinese shareholders the 10 year anniversary of this Luxembourg automotive supplier’s presence in China.

Deputy Prime Minister and Saic Minister Sign Mou on Deepening China-Luxembourg Ties

On May 13th, 2016, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy Etienne Schneider signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Minister of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) Zhang Mao, with the objective of fostering the cooperation between China and Luxembourg in various fields.

SAIC is China’s top authority for surveillance and regulation of markets and implementation of laws in the domains of industry and commerce.

The MoU aims at developing the exchanges between Luxembourg and China regarding e.g. registration of companies, policies in favor of SMEs, Intellectual Property protection, competition law and consumer protection.

State Counsellor Yang Jiechi Visits Luxembourg

State Counsellor Yang Jiechi visited Luxembourg on April 15, 2016. He was welcomed by the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, before meeting with Prime Minister Xavier Bettel.

The Prime Minister had a working lunch with Yang Jiechi, in presence of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy Etienne Schneider and of the Minister of Sustainable Development and Infrastructures François Bausch.

The discussions highlighted the excellent bilateral relationships, as well on the political and cultural level as in the economic and business fields.

The State Counsellor also had an audience with H.R.H. the Grand-Duke and met the Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies.

IEE China Celebrates its 10th Anniversary

IEE China, a member of the Luxembourg-based IEE Group, officially celebrated its 10th anniversary on Friday 6 May 2016. In the presence of T.R.H. the Crown Prince and the Crown Princess, the Deputy Prime Minister, H.E. Mr Étienne Schneider, the Ambassador, H.E. Mr Paul Steinmetz, Mr Wei Yinyin, vice president of Casic Group, and Mr Li Lixin, president of the HiWing Group of Casic, IEE’s largest shareholder, the event was an opportunity to celebrate IEE China’s achievements during the decade.

Luxembourg Stock Exchange Lists €471m Bond Issue for Chinese Technology Group

The Luxembourg Stock Exchange (LuxSE) has announced that on 18 May it listed and admitted to trading a high-yield bond issued by BiSoho S.A.S, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shangdong Ruyi Group, a global leader in the fully integrated textiles and fashion business, to acquire French Sandro, Maje, Claudie Pierlot Group. This listing on the Euro MTF market of the LuxSE further confirms the attractiveness of Luxembourg for Chinese corporates to finance acquisitions in Europe through high yield bonds.

Bitstamp Opts for Luxembourg as EU Hub

Luxembourg’s Fintech environment has today received another important addition with the granting of an EU Payment Institution license to Bitstamp, the leading bitcoin exchange in Europe. Bitstamp was established in 2011 as a marketplace allowing people from around the world to securely buy and sell bitcoin.

Kuehne & Nagel Invests €22m in New Luxembourg Facility

Logistics group Kuehne & Nagel is building a new €22m, 46,000-square metre warehouse in Contern. The new facility, which will have 40 loading bays, is scheduled for completion in December. Kuehne & Nagel currently has 570 employees in Luxembourg and foresees an annual increase in staff number of about 5% over the next decade.

SES Satellite to Facilitate Rio Olympics Broadcasting

Luxembourg-based satellite operator SES has signed a capacity agreement with Eurovision for broadcasting of the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games worldwide. Eurovision will lease several transponders on the NSS-806 satellite during July and August to enable broadcasters to provide extensive coverage of the Olympics and distribution of other major sports events. The location of NSS-806 at the orbital position of 47.5 degrees West offers excellent coverage over Brazil and was used for broadcasting of the 2014 soccer World Cup to audiences in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Luxembourg Government and Deep Space Industries to Test Technologies for Asteroid Mining

Asteroid mining company Deep Space Industries, together with the Luxembourg Government and the Société Nationale de Crédit et d’Investissement (SNCI), the national banking institution in Luxembourg, have signed an agreement formalizing their partnership to explore, use, and commercialize space resources as part of Luxembourg’s initiative.

Dr. Simon “Pete” Worden and Mr. Georges Schmit Join the Luxembourg Government’S Advisory Board in the Frame of the Spaceresources.Lu Initiative

The Luxembourg Government announced that Simon "Pete" Worden, Chairman of the Breakthrough Prize Foundation and former Director of NASA’s Ames Research Center; and Georges Schmit, Consul General and Executive Director at the Luxembourg Trade & Investment Office in San Francisco, join the government's Advisory Board of the recently announced initiative. The initiative defines a framework for the exploration and commercial utilization of resources from Near Earth Objects (NEOs), such as asteroids.

Launch of Digital Tech Fund to Support Luxembourg-Based Early-Stage ICT Startups

Luxembourg’s government and various private investors launched the Digital Tech Fund, a public-private seed fund focusing primarily, but not exclusively, on investments into areas such as FinTech, cyber security, Big Data, Digital Health, media and next-generation communication networks and digital learning.

Luxembourg Economic Promotion Reorganized

On Friday, May 27, the Luxembourg government's cabinet meeting agreed to the reorganization of the economic promotion, including the merger of Luxembourg for Business into Lux innovation, with the dissolution of Luxembourg for Business GIE (economic interest group) and the pooling of skills of both entities.

The Trade and Investment Board, a newly created coordination platform, will overlook and validate the economic promotion strategy elaborated by the Trade and Investment Steering Committee. The Trade and Investment Board will be chaired by the Minister of the Economy and it’s honorary Chairman will be H.R.H. the Crown Prince. The steering committee will be chaired by a representative of the Ministry of the Economy and include the Director General of the Chamber of Commerce, the CEO of Lux innovation and government representatives (Ministry of the Economy, of the Ministry of State and of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

The Luxembourg Trade and Investment Offices will play a role within the Directorate General for the promotion of Foreign Trade and Investment at the Ministry of the Economy to contribute to the geographical and sectorial focuses of Luxembourg’s economic promotion.

University of Luxembourg Ranks 14th Best Young University Worldwide

The University of Luxembourg is ranked 14th among the best young universities in the world, according to the latest Time Higher Education (THE) 150 Under 50 Rankings 2016. The 150 Under 50 Rankings are a global list of the best universities that have been established within the last 50 years. Institutions are evaluated on 13 performance indicators grouped into five categories: teaching, research, citations, international outlook and industry income. “We are very proud to have been listed 14th in this ranking,” said University President Rainer Klump. “This confirms once more that our clear international orientation pays off. And it is our goal to become one of the future leaders in higher education.”

Luxembourg: Most Competitive Financial Centre in the Eurozone

Once again, Luxembourg' has been ranked in the first division of global financial centres in terms of competitiveness. In the “Global Financial Centres Index” by the consultancy Z/Yen and the Long Finance initiative, the country was placed 1st in the Eurozone, 3rd in Europe (behind London and Zurich) and as one of the most competitive global centres (just below Chicago, but above Sydney and Frankfurt). These results are based on a survey of financial professionals, plus industry and economic data about 86 international financial centres. Human capital, the business environment, financial sector development, infrastructure plus reputational and general factors were all taken into account in this report. The score reflects Luxembourg’s unrivaled ability to serve institutional and individual clients across border in a range of sectors, particularly investment funds and wealth management.

Luxembourg Tops World for B2C E-Commerce Readiness

Luxembourg has the highest level of e-commerce business-to-consumer readiness in the world, according to the latest rankings compiled by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. The e-commerce index comprises four indicators: internet use penetration, the number of secure servers per million inhabitants, credit card penetration and postal reliability.

Fitch Affirms Luxembourg at 'AAA'; Outlook Stable

On 15 April 2016, Fitch Ratings has affirmed Luxembourg's Long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) at 'AAA'. The Outlooks are Stable.

According to Fitch, this rating reflects the following key rating drivers: wealthy economy with a high degree of openness and stable institutions; sound public finances; high GDP growth; and large current account surpluses.

Luxembourg is a small, very wealthy economy, with a high degree of trade openness relative to its peers. It has strong and stable institutions, which are reflected in the high World Bank governance scores that outperform the 'AAA' median on average.

Public finances are a key rating strength for Luxembourg. Fitch estimates the general government to have recorded a budget surplus of 1.1% of GDP for 2015, compared with a deficit of 1.6% for the 'AAA' median. Debt/GDP, at 21.9% at end-2015, is also significantly lower than the 'AAA' median of 43.3%.

Real GDP growth in Luxembourg has been dynamic, with a five-year average of 3%, outperforming the 2.1% median of 'AAA'. Growth in 2015 accelerated to 4.9%, driven by a pick-up in net exports, especially in the export of financial services. Fitch expects growth to moderate to 3.4% in 2017 due to a weaker Eurozone growth outlook.

Luxembourg has a strong external position with more than two decades of large current account surpluses owing to a strong net services trade surplus.

The Outlook is Stable. Consequently, Fitch does not currently anticipate developments with a high likelihood of leading to a rating change. Fitch assumes that the implementation of Base Erosion Profit-Sharing (BEPS) measures across the EU would not result in a large-scale migration of operations out of Luxembourg by Luxembourg-based multinational corporations.

Strong GDP Growth: Almost 5% in 2015, 3.1% in 2016, 4.7% in 2017

STATEC forecasts growth rates of 3.1% in 2016 and 4.7% in 2017, after measuring a growth rate of nearly 5% in 2015.

The relative weakness in global demand is not affecting Luxembourg directly but indirectly due to the slowdown of its trading partners. Macroeconomic trends in Luxembourg will consequently be characterised by a slowdown in activity in 2016, with real growth rates at about 3% compared to almost 5% in 2015.

The labour market is doing well, with the downward trend in unemployment compared to 2015 and job offers increasing significantly. Driven mainly by cross-border workers, domestic employment is set to rise some 3% in 2016, mostly in reaction – with some delay – to the sharp rise in activity in 2015.

While economic growth was relatively strong last year, it did not generate any significant pressure on consumer prices and this trend is likely to continue in 2016. This low inflation, more marked than expected, is also restricting wage inflation because of automatic index-linking and by extension also contributes to slowing public expenditure and receipts.

OECD Better Life Index: Excellent Living Conditions and Quality of Life in Luxembourg

Life is good in Luxembourg, which was ranked above average for 10 out of 11 indicators explored in the OECD's 2016 Better Life Index. While Luxembourg was in the top tier for income and wealth, social connections, civic engagement, jobs and earnings, work-life balance, personal security, subjective well-being, health status, environmental quality, and housing, it lagged below average for education and skills. The index enables people to compare well-being across countries based on 11 topics, which the OECD has identified as essential in the areas of material living conditions and quality of life.

Air Cargo China

Luxembourg has a large presence at the Air Cargo China Fair in Shanghai from June 14 to 16. Luxembourg companies are present on 3 booths. While Cargolux shares a booth with Luxair Cargo and LuxAirport, Wallenborn shares one with Henan’s HNCA. The Ministry of the Economy and the Chamber of Commerce have their own booth with a presence of Arthur Welter, Champ Cargosystems, Global Airlift Solutions and LCA Luxembourg, as well as the Cluster for Logistics. The Minister for Sustainable Development and Infrastructures François Bausch will visit the fair.

Elvinger Hoss Prussen, Luxembourg Investment Fund Seminar, April 29th

On the 29th of April, in the presence of Ms. Zhang Qi, Director of Asset Management Association of China (AMAC), EHP held its annual Luxembourg Investment Fund Seminar at the Luxembourg Consulate General in Shanghai. A summary of recent UCITS developments and their impact in Asia and a presentation of new trends in the Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) field and the new Luxembourg non-supervised Reserved Alternative Investment Fund (RAIF) were given. It was followed by a roundtable discussion with Ms. Natasha Xie, Partner of Jun He Law Offices and the EHP partners focusing on the development of Chinese asset managers using Luxembourg structure and the recent reform of QFII / RQFII which might have an impact on Luxembourg investment funds.

House of Training – ATTF, Seminar on Asset & Liability Management, June 6th to 8th

Guy Mertens, head of the Derivatives Division in the Risk Management Department at the European Investment Bank (EIB) held a seminar from June 6th to 8th, on Asset & Liability Management at the Luxembourg Consulate General in Shanghai. The participants were top and medium executives from banks, financial institutions or supervision authorities, involved in risk management, asset & liability management, treasury and internal control. The objectives of this course was to provide participants with a good understanding of how banks use asset and liability management to reduce and manage a variety of risks. House of Training – ATTF Agency for Transfer of Financial Technology (ATTF) offers a large variety of topical seminars and workshops in order to provide technical assistance in financial matters to partners countries.

Bencham Gala – The Sky is the Limit

Saturday 7th May was a night to remember for the Bencham community. 370 members and friends attended this evening of celebration at the shanghai tower.

With no less than 80 prizes donated by lucky draw sponsors, combined with the generosity and kind hearts of participants, RMB 92,800 were raised for Couleurs de Chine, meaning that 116 children will be able to go to school for one year.

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