In his formal remarks, Carlo Thelen, managing director of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, highlighted the new initiative to make Luxembourg a “one-stop shop for promoting entrepreneurship and building a platform for business creation and development.” Since this launch, numerous Chinese investors have entered the programme, he said.
As he wished the Chinese community a happy new year, he drew parallels between the characteristics of the rooster and the coming year, and outlined the chamber’s 2017 programme, which includes “one belt one road seminars in logistics, finance and ICT”.
Thelen then extended a formal welcome to China Everbright Bank and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank which are setting up in Luxembourg. These are the 7th and 8th major Chinese banks to open EU hubs in the Grand Duchy.
“Dangers of a trade war”
Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg’s prime minister, in his speech, praised the “excellent ties” between Luxembourg and China. Referencing Chinese president Xi Jinping’s speech at the 2017 World Economic Forum, Bettel said: “The Chinese president warned against the dangers of a trade war, saying that pursuing protectionism is just like locking yourself in a dark room. Wind and rain cannot enter, but neither can light and air.”
Agreeing with the president, the prime minister confirmed that Luxembourg would continue to be an advocate of free and fair trade. Bettel then noted that the relationship between Luxembourg and China has been amicable since the “very beginning”. In 1894, when Luxembourg was setting up its own steel industry, a group of Luxembourg engineers helped China to build its first glass furnace, in Wuhan. Bettel said, “that was the first step which helped China set up its first real backbone and today our numerous joint ventures continue.”
Shirley Lam, special representative for Hong Kong economic and trade affairs to the EU, drew similarities between Hong Kong and Luxembourg. Both places, she stated, are “super-connectors: with Hong Kong acting as a gateway to China and Luxembourg acting as a gateway for Europe.”
6th official language?
The popular event had an impressive turnout with over 500 registrations, according to Chinalux president Dirk Dewitte. He said that this has been their biggest new year celebration in 15 years. Joking that Chinese could become the 6th official language in Luxembourg, he introduced the lion dance and singing performance by two students at the Centre de Langue et de Culture Chinoise du Luxembourg.
The cocktail reception commenced with a traditional tea ceremony, accompanied by music by a Chinese zither player and harpist.
Having worked with high quality textiles in China for many years, attendee Valerie Dubois told Delano that she was pleased to see Luxembourg celebrating Chinese new year in a big way. “There are many parallels to be celebrated between both cultures, we have the same values, we’re respectful of our differences and we have strong family values. We’re more alike than people think!”