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Luxembourg's Gulf Tour Strengthens Economic Ties

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

14 February 2011

Luxembourg’s Head of State the Grand Duke and Finance Minister Luc Frieden recently undertook a visit of the Gulf region in a bid to promote the country’s financial centre. They were accompanied by an important delegation of financial centre representatives.

The aim of the visit to the Middle East was to raise awareness of Luxembourg’s financial centre and to strengthen political and economic ties. In each of the areas visited, Luxembourg’s Grand Duke Henri and Finance Minister Frieden held talks with political and economic leaders of the respective countries, and spoke during seminars designed to promote the finance centre, organized by “Luxembourg for Finance”, the agency responsible for the development of the financial centre.

In Qatar, talks focussed on the political and economic situation in the region. According to the Luxembourg government, Qatar has experienced phenomenal economic growth over the course of the last few years as a result of its gas exports. During the course of the negotiations, the leaders of Qatar and Finance Minister Frieden united on plans for an economic partnership in several key areas.

The finance ministers of both countries also underlined their commitment to strengthening business relations between the financial centres of Doha and Luxembourg. Indeed, various concrete proposals in terms of cooperation were put forward in the interests of the international development of their respective economies.

Building on these discussions, Qatar’s Prime Minister and Finance Minister aim to visit Luxembourg over the course of the coming months to finalize plans.

While on official visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), an exchange of views on the economic situation in the region took place and discussions centred on strengthening relations in the area of finance. Alluding to the fact that the country is also currently experiencing impressive economic growth rates, Luxembourg’s government pointed out that the country, which is heavily dependent on the export of fuel, is now seeking to diversify its economy.

During the course of the seminar, Luxembourg’s Finance Minister Frieden outlined in detail the comparative advantages of Luxembourg’s financial centre in a European and international context, while also highlighting the fact that Luxembourg was the first European centre for Islamic finance.

The delegation’s official programme in Saudi Arabia was complemented by a seminar on the Luxembourg financial centre in a bid to identify opportunities for cooperation and to intensify business relations in the area of financial services.

On the last stage of its tour of the Gulf region, the delegation held meetings with leaders in Lebanon, with the talks focussing on political and economic developments in Lebanon and the region. On the sidelines of the meetings, the finance ministers of both countries exchanged views on economic and financial cooperation between Luxembourg and Lebanon.

TAGS: United Arab Emirates | tax | business | Saudi Arabia | Luxembourg | Qatar | Lebanon

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