Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Governor Abbott Hosts Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid Of Belgium And Economic Delegation

Governor Greg Abbott and First Lady Cecilia Abbott today hosted Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium and dignitaries of the Belgian economic delegation. The delegation is traveling on a seven-day  economic mission to promote trade opportunities between Texas and Belgium. The Princess is representing 117 Belgian companies, and her trip includes stops in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and College Station.

“Cecilia and I are honored to host Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid and other members of the Belgian economic delegation today to discuss the importance of strengthening the already prosperous economic relationship between Texas and Belgium,” said Governor Abbott. “As Texas’ 10th largest export destination, Belgium is a strong economic partner for the Lone Star State, especially in the industrial and energy sectors. I look forward to engaging with the Belgian officials further in order to continue this productive and positive partnership between our two economies.”

“The long historic ties between Texas and Belgium have forged an impressive economic bond,” Belgium Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders said. “The close partnership between the ports of Houston and Antwerp are the backbone of our trade relationship, which includes considerable investments in logistics and chemical clusters. But our relations have diversified significantly over the past years to include such sectors as clean technology, life sciences and biopharmaceuticals, as well as close cooperation between our universities."

The Belgian Economic Mission includes visits to four Texas cities and includes 240 business executives, trade representatives and members of the Belgian government.  During the mission Princess Astrid will meet with state officials, as well as leaders from a wide range of Texan and Belgian business sectors. Belgium is Texas’ 10th ranked export destination, and 24th ranked import source country.

The Belgian delegation’s trip began on Saturday, December 3rd and will conclude on December 10th.


  • Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium, Representative of His Majesty the King
  • His Excellency Didier Reynders, Federal Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs
  • His Excellency Geert Bourgeois, Minister-President of the Government of Flanders and Flemish Minister for Foreign Policy and Immovable Heritage
  • His Excellency Jean-Claude Marcourt,  Vice-President and Minister of Economy, Industry, Innovation and New Technologies of the Walloon Region Government and Vice-President and Minister of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation
  • His Excellency Pieter De Crem, Federal Secretary of State for Foreign Trade
  • Her Excellency Cécile Jodogne, Secretary of State for Foreign Trade & Investment, Brussels-Capital Region and Minister of the French Community Commission
  • His Excellency Dirk Wouters, Ambassador of Belgium to the United States
  • Marc Calcoen, Consul General of Belgium in New York
  • Claire Tillekaerts, CEO, Flanders Investment and Trade
  • Pascale Delcomminette, CEO, Wallonia Export-Investment Agency and Wallonia-Brussels International
  • Anick Van Calster, Director General for Bilateral Affairs, Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation
  • Geneviève Renaux, Economic Counsellor of His Majesty the King
  • Jan Matthysen, Advisor to Princess Astrid of Belgium
  • Michele Dastin-van Rijn, Political and Economic Counselor, US Embassy in Belgium
  • Marc Bogaerts, Director General of the Belgian Foreign Trade Agency and Advisor at the Household of His Majesty the King
  • Bénédicte Wilders, Chief Executive Director of Brussels Invest & Export, Foreign Trade and Investment Service of the Brussels Regional Public Service
  • Pieter Timmermans, CEO, Federation of Enterprises in Belgium
  • Yves Dubus, Trade and Investment Commissioner for Belgium in Houston
  • Heidi Hoover, Head of Flanders Investment & Trade Office in Houston