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Flanders opens new office in California

The Belgian region of Flanders is continuing to step up its marketing and investment promotion activities in the US with the opening of a fourth North American bureau, in Los Altos, California, by the Flanders Foreign Investment Office (FFIO).

Lieve Mertens speaking at the opening of the new Silicon Valley office in California

The opening was marked by a reception at the Garden Court Hotel in downtown Palo Alto. Guests included Mr Alan John Blinken, former Ambassador of the United States to Belgium, and Mr Leopold Merckx, Consul-General of Belgium in Los Angeles.

The FFIO, headquartered in Brussels, has US offices in Dallas, Chicago and Boston as well as representatives in Japan and Singapore. The new Silicon Valley-based operation will focus on companies in the high-tech and life-science sectors and is responsible for companies in the 12 most western states.

Lieve Mertens, CFA, is heading up the operation as Director, Business Development. Ms Mertens previously worked as a chartered financial analyst in global investment advisory firms. She has an MBA from the University of Chicago and an MSEE from the University of Louvain, Belgium. She will be assisted by Isabelle Rombaut, who brings to the FFIO several years' experience as a strategic consultant with Bain & Company. Ms. Rombaut has a Master's degree in applied economics from the University of Louvain.

The FFIO provides free professional and confidential advice to businesses on establishing or optimizing their pan-European presence. It guides potential investors through the processes involved in setting up a business in the region and provides tailor-made calculations of the financial incentives and benefits available to individual companies.

Flanders is located at the heart of Western Europe, with 60% of European Union purchasing power lying within 300 miles. Along with one of the world's most productive, skilled and multilingual workforces, Flanders also has a modern and comprehensive infrastructure, which adds further advantages to its strategic location. Brussels, Flanders' capital, serves as the capital of the European Union as well as the headquarters of NATO and the Easdaq stock exchange, making this region both geographically and symbolically central to European and worldwide events.

Reported by
1 February 2000

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