Luxembourg’s economic minister on Wednesday urged Japanese companies to boost trade and investment with Luxembourg, citing its competitive tax laws and role as a financial center of an expanding European Union.

“As the EU is enlarging to 25 countries with over 400 million consumers, Luxembourg continues to be an ideal gateway for Asian investors in and exporters to the European market,” Henri Grethen told Japanese business leaders in Tokyo.

Grethen said Luxembourg’s tax system — including the lowest value-added tax rates in the EU — and a legal framework favoring electronic commerce make the country an attractive place for investment and technology transfer.

He also said Luxembourg intends to maintain corporate income tax rates of 22 percent and limit overall taxes on corporate income to less than 30.5 percent, rates that are among the most competitive in the 15-nation EU.

America Online Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. have recently selected Luxembourg as a hub for their European operations for such reasons, he said.

About 20 Japanese companies currently operate in Luxembourg, including the four leading banking groups and TDK Corp., Fanuc Ltd. and Teijin Ltd.

Grethen is visiting Tokyo with Luxembourg’s Grand Duke Henri; Lydie Polfer, deputy prime minister and foreign minister; and Pierre Gramegna, managing director of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce. They hope to promote bilateral ties in various fields.

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