The Belgian-American Chamber of Commerce (BACC) will present the first-ever “Peter Minuit Award” to Mr. Guillaume Bastiaens, Vice-Chairman of Cargill on Thursday, May 8, 2008. The award ceremony will be held during the Annual BACC Gala Dinner at The Colony Club in New York City.
Named for Peter Minuit, the historical figure whom in 1626 became the first Belgian businessman in New York for purchasing Manhattan from the native Indians for $24 worth of trinkets, this award recognizes companies that are instrumental in forging positive trade and corporate relations between Belgium and the United States. Past honorees include notables such as Mr. Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State, and Viscount Etienne Davignon, Minister of State, former European Commissioner and Vice Chairman of Suez Tractebel, Baron Georges Jacobs, Chairman of the Board of Directors of UCB and Karen Katen, Vice Chairman, Pfizer Inc. and President, Pfizer Human Health.
This year, the BACC has chosen Mr. Guillaume Bastiaens to receive the award. In 1998, Mr. Bastiaens was appointed the Vice-Chairman of Cargill, one of the largest privately-owned family businesses in the world. Under his inspiring leadership, it has since grown into a formidable multinational brand and company within the industries of food, agricultural and risk management products and services. The Cargill Group employs more than 150,000 employees around the world, with more than 900 stationed in Belgium.
“Through honoring U.S.-Belgian business success stories such as Mr. Bastiaens and his accomplishments, we hope to show the growth potential of investing in and trading with Belgium,” states Jean-Pierre Paulet, President of BACC and Deputy CEO of Fortis Bank USA. “Belgium is and has always been the ideal European destination of choice for investors and at the Belgian-American Chamber of Commerce, we are constantly finding new trade opportunities in Belgium to support and present to U.S. businesses.”
BACC was founded back in 1918 in response to the growing commerce between Belgium and the United States. Celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, BACC still plays an integral role in assisting communications and trade research between businesses in both countries, and provides a large network of valuable contacts and experts for key industries. In 2006, Belgium attracted about $72 billion in foreign investments, ranking above China. The recent 2008 U.S.-Belgian treaty on eliminating double taxation is also one of the many reasons that more U.S. companies are looking into Belgium as the next trade haven.