Brussels, (Brussels Morning)- Our country’s princely trade mission to the United States officially opened this Sunday in the city of Atlanta. Brussels chemical company Solvay welcomed the delegation there in their brand new innovation lab. Head of Delegation Princess Astrid came to inaugurate the lab as reported by BRUZZ.
The princely mission is intended to promote Belgian companies and also attract American investments in their own country. In the presence of Princess Astrid, a delegation of about 500 companies, of which about 130 from Brussels, will travel from Atlanta to New York and Boston over the next seven days.
The program includes company visits, panel discussions and official meetings – all aimed at putting the Belgian market in the spotlight in the US. The United States is already the most important export market for Belgium outside Europe and the United Kingdom. This princely mission is the first outside Europe since the start of the covid crisis and the second largest ever.
The mission was officially opened on Sunday with a visit to Solvay’s new lab at their local site in Alpharetta. Solvay CEO Ilham Kadri called the reception a great pride. The local Solvay employees stood in a long hedge with Belgian and American flags blowing for Princess Astrid and her delegation.
Solvay has been active in the US for some time. It has 5,400 employees and the country accounts for a quarter of their net turnover. Over the past four years, Solvay has invested more than EUR 30 million in this site in Alpharetta, including for the new innovation lab, which has now been open for three months. In that laboratory, new, sustainable materials are developed via 3D printing and immediately tested for hardness, strength, flexibility and other characteristics.
“This is the latest example of Solvay’s growing presence in the US and our continued investment in innovation to ensure a future of clean mobility, such as electric and hybrid cars, low-carbon aviation, green hydrogen, the circular economy, and other advances towards a more sustainable society,” says CEO Kadri.
While Solvay is a large and well-known company, many smaller companies also participate in the mission. “Of course we also want to support start-ups and SMEs and open up new markets,” says Brussels State Secretary for Foreign Relations Pascal Smet (one.brussels-Vooruit). “The whole purpose of this mission is to find investors to bring to Brussels, but also give Brussels investors the chance to discover the market in the United States.”
During this mission, the Brussels Region will in particular highlight its sustainable real estate sector, as well as female entrepreneurship and fintech, such as online payment systems. The visit was also a small personal celebration for Princess Astrid. She was surprised with a birthday cake.