On Wednesday 13 February 2019, a new business chamber was launched in the Grand Duchy: the Cercle Münster in Luxembourg-Grund hosted the inaugural meeting of the Australia and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce Luxembourg (ANZCCL).
At the first meeting, co-chairs Tony Whiteman from New Zealand and Maya Joshi from Australia were joined by Richard Russell, Monique Bachner and Genna Elvin, who agreed the outline of the new organisation and are sharing their ideas so that their membership may grow. With three Australians and two Kiwis driving the new chamber, the launch event was also attended by Justin Brown, Australia's Ambassador to Luxembourg, and Gregory Andrews, New Zealand's Ambassador to Luxembourg, as well as representatives from the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce and the Ministries of State and Foreign Affairs from the Luxembourg government.
At the recent World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, the founding of ANZAAC was also mentioned during the meeting between Luxembourg's Prime Minister, Xavier Bettel, and New Zealand's Prime Minister, Jacinta Arden.
Following the launch, Chronicle.lu got the opportunity to talk with some of the ANZAAC founders. Richard Russell stated "We believe that, particularly now, there's opportunity to do more to promote the connections between the Australian, New Zealand and Luxembourg business communities."
Genna Elvin explained "We also wanted to tap into a young, global and increasingly mobile community interested in coming to and working in Europe. With Brexit pushing people to consider their European options, we think Luxembourg has a lot to offer."
And Maya Joshi, co-chair from Australia, stated "We all come from countries with a large expat population, and in both countries that population is encouraged to contribute. We really hope that as expats in Luxembourg we can also make our contribution from back home to Luxembourg."
The ANZCCL grew out of a longstanding Australian New Zealand social club called LANZA as well as the Thursday night drinks group started by Richard Russell via the Australia & New Zealand Club Luxembourg Facebook Page. Events on both social fronts led those involved to realise that there was a quality group of long-term Aussie and Kiwi residents here in Luxembourg who are at home in Luxembourg but still maintain ties and business interests back home. In addition, both Australia and New Zealand have recently opened free trade negotiations with the European Union, which are hoped to result in increased trade opportunities with Luxembourg.
The ANZCCL welcomes anyone with a genuine interest in business between Australia / New Zealand and Luxembourg. Those behind the organisation hope to see many Luxembourg-resident Australians and New Zealanders join; however, they are not limiting membership to citizens of those countries – in fact, they also welcome Luxembourgers with an interest in Australia and New Zealand as well as those resident in Australia and New Zealand.
Although there is no reliable way of establishing the true number of Australians and New Zealanders resident in Luxembourg as many people are registered here under a second (EU) nationality, those behind the ANZCCL hope to get a better feel for the population numbers through ANZCCL and may have a firmer answer after people join the organisation.