India, Belgium discuss bilateral trade at BLEU Forum

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India and Belgium on Tuesday held discussions on the bilateral trade relations and set ambitious goals to enhance trade during the 16th Session of India-Belgium Luxembourg Economic Union (BLEU) Joint Economic Commission (JEC).

Established in 1997, the forum is the main vehicle to discuss bilateral economic and commercial issues.

Belgium highlighted its wide-ranging expertise and state-of-the-art life sciences ecosystem that includes pharmaceutical and biotechnology activities where there is a close collaboration between industry and universities.

In addition, special focus was given to food sector which is the second most important in the processing industry of Belgium after chemicals.

The country is also looking forward to discover opportunities of cooperation in the satellites and aerospace sector. Furthermore, it wishes to promote Belgium as a preferred tourist destination for Indian citizens.

The European Union is the largest trade partner of India. Among the 28 member group, Belgium is the country having the third largest trade with India with an overall trade worth €12.8 billion in 2018. The major items of trade consist of diamonds, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, foodstuff and machinery. These trade numbers reflect the close economic partnership between the two countries, emphasising bilateral relationship.

Belgium is keen on diversifying the trade relations with India and exploring new sectors of cooperation. There are around 170 Belgian companies based in India. On the other hand, about 80 Indian companies have set up an office or plant in Belgium.

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