L-R: Nicolas Jost; Tom Théobald; Yuriko Backes, Luxembourg's Minister of Finance; Nicolas Mackel, CEO of Luxembourg for Finance; Paul Steinmetz, Consul General & Executive Director - LTIO New York; Credit: MFIN

From Monday 28 November to Friday 2 December 2022, Luxembourg's Minister of Finance, Yuriko Backes, undertook a financial mission in New York (US) and Toronto (Canada).

In New York, the Finance Minister had meetings with leaders of the main American financial institutions present in Luxembourg. The exchanges mainly made it possible to take stock of the development of their activities in Europe and in the Grand Duchy. It was also an opportunity to discuss the evolution of the macroeconomic situation in Europe and the United States (US) and to discuss major issues, such as the economic impact of the Russian war in Ukraine, inflation on both sides of the Atlantic, the energy crisis in Europe and protectionist tendencies. In general, the various players reaffirmed their commitment to Luxembourg and the Luxembourg market.

Minister Backes also attended an event organised by Luxembourg for Finance at Luxembourg House allowing professionals from the New York financial sector to deepen their knowledge of the Luxembourg market and expand their network of contacts. A meeting between the Finance Minister and the Luxembourg community in New York took place on the first evening of the mission.

Minister Backes and her delegation also attended the opening ceremony of the Nasdaq stock exchanges. She then had a meeting with representatives of the Nasdaq group to discuss current challenges, particularly with regard to the changes brought about by the development of fintech.

Luxembourg's Finance Minister commented: "The United States is a long-standing historical partner and the very close ties that bind our countries have been woven at all levels. The potential for developing economic exchanges between our countries, particularly in the financial field, is great. US banks and asset managers are among the main employers in the financial sector representing 20% ​​of assets under management in the fund industry in Luxembourg. I am therefore delighted to note that these companies not only remain committed, but that several are seeking to expand their activities on the European market, or even to launch new activities in Luxembourg".

Minister Backes took advantage of her stay in New York to meet Anita Bhatia, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, the United Nations' entity dedicated to gender equality. Discussions focused on the crucial role played by finance ministers around the world and, in general, finance in the implementation of the 5th sustainable development goal (SDG) on gender equality. Another topic was the possible inclusion of gender equality in the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) annual Article IV consultations. Minister Backes and Ms Bhatia agreed to further cooperate in the field of gender finance.

Moreover, Luxembourg's Finance Minister delivered speeches at the New York University (NYU) Stern School of Business and at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy at the University of Toronto on the history, successes and challenges of European integration. In particular, she pointed out that when faced with a crisis situation, member countries first tend to respond unilaterally. Secondly, coordination at European level makes it possible to find more appropriate common responses to deal with these external shocks. She said: "It is by reacting in a united and solidary manner to major crises that the European Union is built. The success of its integration is measured by its ability to respond to multiple challenges". She also emphasised: "The EU, the US and Canada share common values ​​and are close allies. They have a shared responsibility to make the energy transition a success and to maintain the principles of free trade, especially in the context of rising protectionism".

In Toronto, meetings with leaders of the largest Canadian financial institutions focused on their development strategy in Europe and the role that Luxembourg can play in this context. Minister Backes also spoke with Luxembourg's Honorary Consul in Toronto, Shauneen Bruder, about the development of bilateral economic and financial relations. A visit to the MaRS Discovery District incubator (University of Toronto) to take stock of the latest advances and developments in Canada in the field of fintech concluded this financial mission.