© Royal Palace, Belgium
On 6 August 1993, Prince Philippe accepted the Honorary Presidency of the Board of Directors of the Belgian Foreign Trade Office (Belgische Dienst voor Buitenlandse Handel - Office Belge du Commerce extérieur) as a result of a decision by the Council of Ministers. He succeeded his father, who had held this position since 1962.
On 3 May 2003, the Prince was then appointed Honorary President of the Board of Directors of the Belgian Foreign Trade Agency (BFTA).
In this capacity, he led 85 economic missions abroad over the next 20 years. He built bridges between Belgian and foreign companies as well as between Belgian companies. Following his accession to the throne in 2013, he has remained Honorary Chairman of the BFTA but has asked his sister Princess Astrid to represent him on economic missions.
At the service of the companies
During the economic missions, HRH Prince Philippe has always been at the service of our companies. The Prince's commitment was greatly appreciated, some testimonials:
“An economic mission presided over by Prince Philippe garners a lot of positive media attention abroad. Participation helps put a company in the spotlight as well as facilitating the right contacts. These missions have definitely been useful for us. Except for one instance, all our participations have generated results.”
(Eric Poskin, spokesperson Strategic & Corporate Communication, Mithra Pharmaceuticals)
“The fact that Besix is building a reputation for itself in Saudi Arabia is also partly due to the presence of Prince Philippe during our economic mission there. Discussions were organised at the very highest level. But even when economic missions to non-monarchies are organised, the presence of Prince Philippe is important. His attendance created many opportunities for participating Belgian companies during the mission to Vietnam.”
(Georges Bovsovers, Corporate Relations & Marketing Director Besix)
“Prince Philippe increasingly is becoming a matchmaker. He makes enquiries about the companies beforehand and then introduces them to potential partners. His contacts are often at the highest possible level, with the decision-makers. In the last ten years, we have participated in several economic missions presided over by Prince Philippe, always with good results. Every (niche) manufacturer should incorporate these missions in their marketing mix.”
(David Laurier, CEO AppliTek)