Founded by a committee of two Kiwis and three Australians, the chamber aims to provide. A platform and connection point for businesses and business people in the three countries.
“Part of it was we want a better pooling point for the resources in Luxembourg,” co-chair Maya Joshi, a lawyer from Australia, told Delano prior to the reception. “I came here six years ago for my husband and work,” she said, explaining that she met fellow Australians through an informal meetup on Facebook, called the Australian New Zealand Club Luxembourg. “We thought, with the chamber of commerce, it’s nice to have a social side but also nice to have something more formal and business-oriented, and pools together the business links here.”
The business links between Luxembourg, New Zealand and Australia have grown in recent years with the presence of Macquarie Asset Management, not to mention Luxembourg firms with a presence in the two Australasian countries, such as satellite firm Kleos, which last year successfully launched an IPO on the Australian Stock Exchange. And, produce from the two nations is easily found in Luxembourg shops. In addition to Vegemite and New Zealand lamb, there are two companies importing wines: Vinoz and Simply Devine.
Joshi believes there is scope to develop more business related to Luxembourg’s emerging sectors, like newspace, technology and fintech are less well-known back home.
Joshi is joined by co-chair Tony Whiteman, a Kiwi who moved to Luxembourg to play rugby back in 1993. A familiar face in the expat rugby and cricket scene, the father-of-four worked in the financial sector and is today an independent director working for different global firms.
He sees that there are two developments which mean their services could be in demand: bringing talent to Luxembourg and Brexit. On the former, young people are able to take advantage of the long-stay holiday and work visa in Luxembourg making it “easier for Luxembourgers to work in New Zealand and Australian and vice versa,” Whiteman says, pointing out the pressing demand for qualified staff in Luxembourg. Concerning Britain’s departure from the EU, Whiteman suggests Luxembourg could position itself as an ideal staging post for Kiwis and Australians setting up in Europe.
“What will come of it? We’re going into this with open eyes,” Whiteman said. Joshi added that the chamber’s activities will not be on the scale of others like the British or American chambers, but that is not their goal. “If we’ve established a presence and an identity, I think we will be happy,” she said.