The government of Belgium has signed an agreement with Alibaba Group to promote trade under the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) initiative.
Both parties will work closely to build a more inclusive and innovative trade platform to facilitate greater and more equitable access to cross-border trade opportunities, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises.
The memorandum of understanding was signed by Belgium’s deputy prime minister and minister of employment, economy and consumer affairs Kris Peeters and Alibaba Group president of global business, Angel Zhou.
Belgium’s prime minster, Charles Michel says: “I am excited to welcome eWTP to Belgium and the commitment of Alibaba to improve the competitiveness of Belgian and European firms on the global stage in this partnership. This will be a huge opportunity to boost exports and bring wide reaching economic benefits to society, including employment opportunities to Liege.
“Participation in eWTP underlines our country’s vision to help local small and medium-sized companies to be more competitive in the global marketplace in the digital age. This is an opportunity for not just the small businesses and young people in Belgium but across Europe.”
A major element of the eWTP is the establishment of a logistics infrastructure to support cross-border trade.
Alibaba’s Cainiao Smart Logistics Network and Liege Airport signed a contract to lease 220,000 square metres to build a world-class smart logistics hub at the airport.
The initial investment will be €75 million, with the first phase of the facility planned to commence operations in early 2021, enhancing overall efficiency to help SMEs better manage exports.
Liege Airport CEO, Luc Partoune says: “The arrival of Cainiao Network reinforces the competitiveness of our airport. Several Chinese companies are already here. Other companies will be attracted by the presence of Cainiao and the opportunity for e-commerce growth between Europe and China.”
The government of Belgium and Alibaba will work closely to introduce new technologies to promote digitisation of customs procedures and more efficient clearance of goods.
Alibaba and Belgian trade and investment agencies will also collaborate to increase sales opportunity of Belgian products on e-commerce platforms within Alibaba’s ecosystem.