Thursday, 02 November 2017 13:11

What does China’s Belt & Road Initiative mean for Luxembourg? - Q&A with Amanda Yeung

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This week we sat down with Amanda Yeung, China-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (CHINALUX) Vice President, to discuss the upcoming seminar “What does China’s Belt & Road Initiative mean for Luxembourg?” taking place on the 10th of November, 10:00-13:30, at the Chamber of Commerce of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The seminar will be the fourth, and final, event in the China’s Belt & Road Initiative Event Series.

 

What is the Belt & Road Initiative?

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (“BRI”; also formerly referred to as One Belt, One Road (“OBOR”)) is an ambitious economic and foreign policy initiative. Through the BRI, China endeavours to establish a network of intercontinental trade and infrastructure projects, with an aim to forge new economic corridors between China, Eurasia, and beyond.  

Launched in September 2013 by President Xi Jinping when he called for the development of a Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, the BRI is arguably one of the most significant, and largest, development initiatives in modern history.

 

What is the China’s Belt & Road Initiative Event Series?

The China’s Belt & Road Initiative Event Series is run in partnership by the Chamber of Commerce of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and CHINALUX.

Starting with a launch event almost exactly one year ago now, we began by introducing the aims and ambitions of the BRI. The launch kicked off with speeches by Mr. Carlo Thelen, Director General of the Chamber of Commerce, and the Honorable Huang Changqing, Chinese Ambassador to Luxembourg, followed by an introductory presentation to the BRI, and a panel discussion on the potential involvement of Luxembourg under the BRI with leading experts from the Luxembourg logistics, ICT and finance sectors.  

Since, we have held “deep-dive” seminars on the BRI topic to identify the expectations and opportunities for Luxembourg, specifically those relevant to the logistics, ICT and finance sectors. The logistics and ICT focused seminars took place earlier this year, and on the 10th of November 2017 (full details here) we will hold the finance focused seminar.

 

What questions are you hoping to address?

During the seminar on the 10th of November, we will tackle the question of what does China’s BRI really mean for Luxembourg, specifically within the context of the opportunities for the finance industry.  

Secondly, we wish to explore in more detail the role of various Luxembourg finance industry players under the BRI.

 

Who have you invited to speak about the opportunities for the Luxembourg finance sector?

We will hear views from senior representatives and industry players in the fund, stock exchange, banking and fintech sectors from Luxembourg on the potential opportunities during the panel discussion, which will be moderated by Sascha Bremer, Luxembourg for Finance, Market Intelligence Advisor. The panellists will be as follows:

- Mr. Yves Maas, Luxembourg Bankers' Association ("ABBL"), Chairman            

- Mr. Camille Thommes, Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry ("ALFI"), Director General          

- Dr. Lyu Ke, Bank of China Luxembourg, Deputy Head/Director Corporate Banking    

- Mr. Michael Pechner, Luxembourg Stock Exchange, Chief Commercial Officer        

- Mr. Ning Wang, PingPong Europe, Chief Business Officer & Chief Financial Officer

We have also invited seasoned speaker and leading expert on the BRI, Mr. Bo Ji, Assistant Dean of Global Executive Education & Chief Representative for Europe at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB). Mr. Ji will provide a presentation on the topic of the impact of the BRI to the European financial sectors, setting the context and scene for the discussions to follow, and no doubt raising and discussing some integral questions surrounding the BRI with the seminar participants.

 

What key messages do you hope the seminar participants to take home?

It’s our aim that the participants of this seminar will take home an understanding of the BRI, as well as its implications for Luxembourg, and what this means for the finance industry.

 

What do you hope to learn from this seminar yourself?

From an aid, development and infrastructure perspective, the connection between Luxembourg’s finance industry and the BRI are clear. Luxembourg was the first European founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a development bank established in 2015 that was initiated by the Chinese government, and which is dedicated to supporting infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific. Indeed, at the launch event of this event series, Mr. Carlo Thelen expressed that Luxembourg has long been identified as a reliable partner of China, and through its AIIB membership will continue its commitment to aid and development mechanisms, in particular those in the Asia-Pacific region.

Furthermore, in Europe we are also seeing developments, for example, the announcement of the China-EU Co-Investment Fund, a new strategic cooperation between the European Investment Fund and the Silk Road Fund - a Chinese state-owned investment fund dedicated to the BRI - earlier this year.  

What isn’t as well-known or as clear is the potential flow-on of opportunities within the context of the growing investments as a result of the BRI, namely in infrastructure – from land, air and freight, to e-commerce and telecommunications. What does this mean for the key players in the finance industry in Luxembourg? What are the Luxembourg funds / stock exchange / banking / fintech players doing in relation to the BRI? What are we are already doing in Luxembourg, and what should we be looking to do? In particular, this is what I am looking forward to hearing the panel discuss on the 10th of November.  

Finally, like my colleagues and friends at ChinaLux, I’m of course very eager to hear from Minister Gramegna on what the BRI means for Luxembourg in his concluding speech. No doubt it will be an excellent “wrap-up” to this BRI event series!

 

Participation to this event is free of charge, however registration is compulsory. Please visit the CHINALUX website for more details.

 

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