| Luxembourg ambassador Gaston Stronck in Calcutta on Tuesday. (Bhubaneswarananda Halder)
A legally safe and an economically predictable investment destination, a three-year visa for business with ease and just the right wine to go with fish from Bengal are what Luxembourg, where city boy Lakshmi Narayan Mittal has his business footprint, offers investors.
During a visit to the city on Wednesday, the Luxembourg ambassador to India, Gaston Stronck, promised a red carpet policy by the year-end for investors with serious intentions. We will take him there, make him meet the right people and treat him like a guest. For a businessman who wants to set up a business in Luxembourg, I would personally consider a three-year visa, he said.
Speaking about the countrys strategic position within the European market, Stronck said: What do Indians look for when they want to invest in Luxembourg? They want to be legally in a safe place and fiscally in a predictable place, which is what we can offer. Luxembourg is the top place for e-commerce because of its 15 per cent VAT rate.
Asked about the impact of the economic crisis, Stronck said: No one in Europe can say they have not been affected. Before October 2008, we had a growth rate of 56 per cent which has now dropped to 12 per cent. The GDP rate of Luxembourg is around 45 and its population half a billion, of which 42 per cent are foreigners.
Citing the example of Mr Mittal, Stronck said: The headquarters of Arcelor are in Luxembourg and Mr Mittal is producing steel in Luxembourg.
Some of the 150 Indian companies listed in Luxembourg are the Aditya Birla Group, Usha Martin, CESC, ITC, Kotak Mahindra, Tata Steel and Tata Motors.
But theres much more to the country than being a financial centre not only is the Skype headquarters situated there but Luxembourg also boasts a small wine-making village that shares its name with Schengen visa and produces an excellent white Riesling wine that would match the excellent fish from Bengal!
The interaction was organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce. Among those present were Rajat Dalmia, the honorary consul of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in Calcutta, and Sanjay Budhia, the managing director of Patton.