Belgian Economic Mission to China
Wagralim, the innovation cluster of the Walloon region, Belgium participated the Belgian Economic Mission to China under the presence of the H.R.H. Princess Astrid and five ministers, local agribusinesses. A total of 632 Belgians moved to Beijing (the political capital) and then to Shanghai (the economic capital). This makes it the largest economic mission ever organized by Belgium.
With a billion four hundred million inhabitants, China represents a significant market for European countries, especially for Belgium and Wallonia. Elected 7th in the export rank for Belgium in 2018, it ranked 13th in the export rank for Wallonia. In addition, the total value of exports of Belgian goods to China was estimated at 7 billion euros in 2018.
With growth slightly above 6% per year, it is undoubtedly a major attraction for foreign companies, especially as the liberalization of its economy is progressing and production costs remain low.
Given these figures, a Prince's Mission was timely for agribusiness companies wishing to develop in this country. As far as businesses are concerned, 80 Walloon and 53 Brussels companies have gone on site to expand their market. 42 agreements (with Chinese institutions and companies) were signed in Beijing, including a € 2 million distribution contract for Vésale Pharma, specialized in research and development of microbiotic solutions. In Shanghai, 31 contracts were signed.
Seminars, visits, B2B meetings and numerous official meetings for Princess Astrid and regional and federal ministers were on the agenda. China is also a target country for Wagralim and the NF4 consortium,to follow up the NF4 China innovation Tour (May) Wagralim organized a seminar on agribusiness in collaboration with AWEx and in the presence of Minister Borsus. This seminar brought together more than 60 people including many local actors from the scientific, industrial and associative sectors. Our delegation was able to exchange with them and establish valuable contacts.
Finally, Wagralim has signed an MOU with Beijing Capital Agribusiness & Food Group or CAG, under the presence of the princess and ministers. CAG, a state-owned company based in Beijing, plans to build an agro-food innovation industrial park in rural Beijing (PingGu).
Having connected the Institute of food and nutrition development and University of Louvain-la-neuve, Wagralim was also mentioned in the signing of a collaboration contract between them.