POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Internationalisation “twice as important” for Lux



Economy minister Franz Fayot and Chamber of Commerce president Luc Frieden speaking during Tuesday's press conference on internationalisation opportunities for local businesses Matic Zorman

Economy minister Franz Fayot and Chamber of Commerce president Luc Frieden speaking during Tuesday's press conference on internationalisation opportunities for local businesses Matic Zorman

Economy minister Franz Fayot (DP) and Chamber of Commerce president Luc Frieden announced on Tuesday the creation of a digital marketing guide and the official opening of the Luxembourg Trade and Investment Office (LTIO) in Casablanca, Morocco. 

Both initiatives are aimed at increasing the internationalisation of local companies in light of challenges facing the current economy with regards to the health pandemic. 

During the Tuesday press conference Frieden called such internationalisation “twice as important” for a country like Luxembourg, given its size. The grand duchy is an export-intensive country, mainly with partners in the greater region, exporting around 80% of its goods and services. Its open economy helped place it third in the International Chamber of Commerce’s open markets index, behind Singapore and Hong Kong. 

But signs of a slowdown were evident in the earlier part of the year, given trade tensions on a global scale, and in mid-September Statec announced that GDP had contracted by 7.8% in Q2, with the heaviest losses hitting industry. Recovery could be slower than previously thought. 

“In the current context, where travel abroad is limited and digital transformation is accelerating, while international trade remains an important source of income for Luxembourg companies, the strengthening of our international network is welcome,” Fayot said. 

Digital marketing guide

Many companies were forced to ramp up their digitalisation efforts as a result of the pandemic at any rate, but a new digital guide, powered by the economy minister, the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce and Luxinnovation, aims to help companies not only boost their online opportunities but also orient their international strategies. 

Available in English and French, the guide provides users with tips on creating websites, establishing social networks, marketing automation, e-commerce, social media and more. Links to partners to provide additional training, support and answer financial questions are also on the site.  

LTIO in Casablanca

The new LTIO in Casablanca, Morocco, was also officially opened during the Tuesday press conference. This follows the undertakings spearheaded by Fayot’s predecessor, Etienne Schneider, during an economic mission to the country in September 2019. The new office brings the network total to nine branches, and is headed by Atman Haloui, who also serves as Luxembourg’s Honorary Consul in Casablanca.

Frieden complimented the country’s relative stability and its qualified and trained professionals, while Fayot praised its logistics sector. Both see the country as a gateway through which to establish more business in Africa, although the LTIO network equally exists to drive investment to Luxembourg too. 

Although economic missions have been greatly scaled back, Fayot says that smaller, more targeted missions will be the way forward in the context of the crisis. Much can also be done digitally, he said, and the team hopes to help out with networking on that front. Case in point: a webinar exploring avenues for new partnerships between Luxembourg and Morocco will be held for companies in the two countries on 10 November.