As we in Britain look tentatively forward to life outside of Europe, those in Europe are also scanning the world for business opportunities and many Royals are leading the trade delegations. It has been announced that Princess Astrid of Belgium will be leading a trade delegation to Texas next month. The Princess is the younger sister of the present Belgian monarch, King Philippe , and the visit will be the first visit to Texas by a member of the Belgian Royal Family in around thirty years.
It is understood that the trade visit will visit Austin and Houston, especially medical centres. This will enable Belgian manufacturers to not only meet and potentially show their products to potential customers but also speak as first hand to those who look after the licencing of the products in the United States so they can understand what hurdles need to be satisfied to clear a product for use.
The Princess has a keen interest in the field of medicine, being a former President of the Belgian Red Cross and it currently a Colonel in the medical contingent of the Belgian Armed Forces. She has also since her brother became King undertaken tasks he previously did as Honourary Chairman of the Board of the Foreign Trade Agency. This will be her first visit to the United States, however, she has undertaken trips all over the world including India, Southern Africa and Russia.
It is understood that not only may several agreements be signed during the visit, but a trade mission from Texas to Belgium is scheduled for June of next year. In addition to visits to places such as the Texas Medical Center, one of the largest hospitals in the world, there will also be social visits. One of these will be to a visit an exhibition detailing the service of Texans in the Battle of the Bulge. The Battle was one of the last major battles of World War II and was fought in the Wallonia area in the densely forested Ardennes region.
This exhibition has been in Bastogne in Belgium, which was in the centre of the fighting that saw American losses of around 8,500 troops. A smaller version of the exhibition will be on display at Memorial Student Center to coincide with the visit of the Princess and the delegation in December. The casualties of war, both military and civilian have long been central to the Princess’s work and she is an avid supporter and indeed she is a Special Envoy of the Ottawa Convention which promotes and global ban on the use of landmines.