As another year draws to a close, the AmCham Belgium team would like to take some time to reflect on 2018 and the numerous events and activities organized with our members. We wish to express our deepest gratitude to them for their overall commitment and congratulate them once again on their countless achievements. Here is a (short) review of another exciting year at AmCham Belgium!
We kicked off the year with our traditional New Year Reception in January, with Koen Geens, Minister of Justice, who explained how legal reforms being undertaken in Belgium will make the country more attractive to foreign investors in the long term. In addition to this, multiple guests, ranging from Alison Rose, British Ambassador to Belgium, to Willy Borsus, Walloon Minister-President, and Kris Peeters, Minister of Economy and Work, were also invited on separate occasions to comment on Belgium’s recovered dynamism as a place to invest and do business, a trend confirmed by our 2018 Business Barometer. In addition, a tour of the Federal Parliament gave our members the opportunity to learn firsthand how Belgian democracy works and to meet Siegfried Bracke, President of the Chamber of Representatives.
— AmCham Belgium (@AmChamBE) June 19, 2018
Happening now: Minister-President @wborsus addressing #AmCham members over lunch. He's speaking about #walgov's efforts to attract and retain foreign investment: taxation, mobility, energy, and more. #FDI pic.twitter.com/sAfZhyRGOb
— AmCham Belgium (@AmChamBE) June 18, 2018
The Legal & Taxation Committee relaunched its Legal Subcommittee, which aims to follow and comment on the latest legal developments in Belgium and advocate for possible regulatory changes on behalf of US and international companies present in this country. The Employee Tax Subcommittee, with representatives from the Human Resources Committee and Legal & Taxation Committee, worked on ways to lower the cost of employment, focusing latterly on introducing a ceiling for employer social security contributions.
The Young Professionals Committee remained very active and enabled young professionals to meet inspiring leaders thanks to the YP @ Noon luncheons – with Louise Harvey (FTI Consulting), Erik Van Den Eynden (ING Belgium), Cis Van Doninck (Cargill) and Thomas Spiller (The Walt Disney Company) – as well as the VIP Speaker Reception, with bpost CEO Koen Van Gerven, and a brand-new soft-skills workshop, organized with akkanto.
— AmCham Belgium (@AmChamBE) March 6, 2018
In March, AmCham Belgium launched the SME series, a new initiative which focuses on the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises in order to help them collaborate more effectively with multinational companies. At a successful event in April, the Innovative Healthcare Committee released a discussion paper on the potential of Real World Data for Belgium’s future healthcare landscape. A follow-up event was organized in December.
— AmCham Belgium (@AmChamBE) April 24, 2018
As the Belgian Prime Minister announced his “Investment Pact” earlier this year, our 2017 Priorities for a Prosperous Belgium proved to be more relevant than ever and was discussed in many outreach meetings between government officials and members of AmCham Belgium’s Government Relations Forum. The GRF also held a discussion with Rik Van Cauwelaert, who gave our members very valuable insights into Belgian politics and what to expect in 2019.
The Antwerp Chapter hosted a lunch with Jan Jambon, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Security and the Interior, in October to discuss Belgium's attractiveness and safety for foreign investors. With help from the Membership Committee, AmCham Belgium continued investing in alternative ways to engage with member companies and provide value to them.
As part of our ongoing Year of Logistics, we published a new report in our Importance of US Companies in Belgium series, highlighting how vital the logistics sector is to the Belgian economy, and organized various discussions on the matter, together with our Year of Logistics sponsor ING Belgium. Events included company visits to Nike’s European Logistics Campus, Skechers and the DHL Brussels Express Hub, and also a panel discussion on logistics in the chemical and petrochemical sector. A new Logistics Working Group was also established, with as goal to define and advocate recommendations to make Belgium a more competitive location for logistics-related investments.
Yesterday, we had the chance to go behind the scenes at DHL's #Brussels Express Hub. WOW, were we impressed by the state-of-the-art facilities and #logistics technology! DHL's enthusiasm was infectious! https://t.co/FB1Wgw22HH pic.twitter.com/Ho0UWSYwYw
— AmCham Belgium (@AmChamBE) November 22, 2018
The Communications Committee was the driving force behind two new projects this year: the AmChampion Awards – won by ING Belgium for large companies and FTI Consulting for small companies – to recognize the member companies within our community which have been most engaged with AmCham Belgium, and the #MemberMonday campaign, featuring the people at the heart of our member community.
Finally, 2018 was also a momentous year for AmCham Belgium, as we celebrated our 70th Anniversary with a Gala at Train World, in the presence of very special guests such as Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid and the new US Ambassador to Belgium Ronald J. Gidwitz.
However, those events are just an overview of what we have accomplished this year, together with you. None of this would have been possible without your commitment, support and engagement. The motto of our 70th anniversary was “70 years of making connections”, and in 2019 we look forward to further building our member community.
We also wish to thank our partners who helped us organize events or spread our messages, and of course, our Strategic Sponsors. Their commitment and support enables us to strengthen the positioning and long-term impact of the AmCham Belgium.
AmCham Belgium thanks its 2018 Diamond sponsors:
We also thank our 2018 Gold sponsors:
3M • Alpha Card • Port of Antwerp • Cisco • Donaldson • ExxonMobil • EY • Flanders Investment & Trade • hub.brussels • ING • Isabel Group • KPMG • Mastercard • Management Centre Europe • McKinsey & Company • Medtronic • Pfizer • SWIFT • Wallonia Export and Investment Agency
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