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Matthew Lussenhop, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., at the US Embassy to Belgium, was the guest of honor and keynote speaker at AmCham Belgium and the American Club of Brussels’ Joint Holiday Gala, held at the Hotel Metropole on December 13, 2017.

In his keynote speech, Chargé d’Affaires Lussenhop reflected on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. The connection between Belgium and the US runs deep, and spans 185 years. The Belgian-US partnership covers military, security, political, economic and diplomatic issues, and the trade and investment ties remain dynamic and enduring.

“American companies have been working here, investing in this country, and contributing to the Belgian economy for many, many years”, Lussenhop said, stressing the strong connection through deep and long-term investments between the US and Belgium. He also observed the growing presence of Belgian companies in the US, supporting about 160,000 jobs and representing a wide range of industries. Belgium is one of the global leaders in nano-electronics and digital technologies, and this impact is clearly visible in Silicon Valley. 

US companies in Belgium set the global standard for community involvement and social responsibility and employ more than 140,000 Belgians (see the Chamber’s recent US TOP 50 ranking). Mr. Lussenhop is proud of the close collaboration between the Embassy and the Chamber, and praised the work of AmCham Belgium, as a “thought leader” in Belgium, and the American Club of Brussels, for their excellent work serving the expatriate community in Brussels.

On a geopolitical level, there are three main challenges facing the US, Belgium and their allies and partners: the ever-present threat of terrorism; the destabilizing impact of Russia; and the interconnected nature of new and hybrid threats. Through intense and positive collaboration, the US and Belgium are facing these threats together, working closely on a bilateral level and within the European Union. Development and assistance will be critical in preventing future crises.

Concluding his speech, Mr. Lussenhop stressed that the Embassy and the Chamber have a shared goal of a Europe whole, free and at peace – and prosperous. We all have to keep in mind that “the only constant is change” in this complex world where threats – as well as opportunities – are constantly emerging.

The speech of Mr. Lussenhop can be read in full of the US Embassy’s website.

Thank you to Delta Air Lines for donating two round-trip business class tickets to the US for our prize draw, and congratulations to the winner, Avi Goldstein of PATHWAYS Institute for Negotiation Education.