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9 good reasons to invest in Belgium

1. Open economy

Being at the crossroads of Latin, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon countries, Belgium has always had a prosperous economy. Belgium is one of the founding members of the European Union, and also hosts EU headquarters. Its highly competitive industry and service sector and strong integration into the globalised world, compensate its rather small size. According to the KOF Index, which is calculated by the Swiss ETHZ (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich), Belgium is the most globalised country in the world. It also ranks among the 5 most attractive regions in Europe for FDI strategy ("European Cities and Regions of Future 2010/2011", FDI Magazine).

2. Access to European decision-makers

As a founding member of the European Union, Belgium very often played and still plays a decisive international role. Belgium hosts EU and NATO, as well as numerous headquarters of multinationals and major global players. About 120 international governmental organisations and 1,400 NGOs are located in Brussels, along with 181 embassies (3,000 diplomats). Such permanent international presence cannot be seen anywhere in the world, except in New York. The same goes for resident journalists, when Brussels ranks second just behind Washington DC.

3. Access to a high quality workforce

The Belgian workforce has the EU-27 highest productivity (IMD "World Competitiveness Report 2009") and the 5th most productive country in the world (The Conference Board 2011).
Key contributing factors hereto are: high flexibility, ability to speak multiple languages, a work force versatile to changing working conditions and environment, numerous high-degree young workers, etc. Business cooperation with universities and technical schools provides strong impetus to R&D and allows for a better adaptation through training, to the needs of a global marketplace

4. Knowledge and creativity-based centre of excellence

In Belgium, there are 16 universities and a broad-based community of world-class scientific institutes. Belgium is the first OECD country in innovation performance and biotech industry development ("OECD Science, Technology and Industry Outlook", 2008) and ranks fifth in the qualitative assessment of World scientific research institutes ("World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report", 2008-09).

5. Access to 500 million European consumers

Belgium is your gateway to Europe, because it connects you to potentially 500 million wealthy consumers. Already now, more than 70% of our Belgium's exports flow to other European countries. Within 300 miles, you can get closer to 140 million customers. Within an 8-hour-drive reach, some 375 million consumers await your products. Our small domestic market is considered as a convenient experimenting field to test new products.

6. Logistics springboard

Belgium is N°1 distribution location in Europe. It is considered as the most suitable place for investments in logistics and distribution (Cushman & Wakefield, "European Distribution Report" 2009) Its excellent air, sea, rail and road infrastructures can easily explain this: Antwerp is a major European harbour, four seaports are located in Ghent, Zeebrugge, Liège and Oostende, three cargo airports (Brussels, Liège, Oostende), all these premises being interconnected with dense and interconnected motorways and railway network, and even connected to neighbouring countries (France, Germany, the Netherlands, and through the Channel Tunnel the UK).
Belgium really offers your business a unique set of options of efficient distribution channels, inseveral multimodal logistics platforms. In the so called Trilogyport project Antwerp Port and Liège inland port will cooperate intensively.

7. Intelligent tax regime

The Belgian tax regime is based on the principle of global equity, which means no discrimination between foreign and domestic companies.
The flat nominal tax rate seems quite high, but in practice fiscal and financial incentives lower the tax due quite substantially. As an example, the so-called "notional interest deduction" allows businesses to deduce amounts subject to taxation up to their invested capital.
Numerous fiscal treaties have also been concluded with third countries so as to avoid double taxation. One should also mention the option of writing "Tax Rulings", whereby the fiscal authority commit itself to apply a negotiated tax regime linked to the tax payer's specific situation.
Also worth mentioning innovative R&D support measures:

  • Patent income deduction
  • Investment deduction on investments in R&D centres and patents
  • Income tax deduction granted to researchers

  • … as well as a special tax regime for expats.
    When it finally comes to comparing the tax effectively paid to the capital invested, Belgium has got one of the lowest corporate income tax rates in the world ("C.D. Howe Institute e-briefing", 18 September, 2008)

    8. Affordable real estate prices

    Comparatively Belgium offers cheap real estate, hence a somewhat affordable cost of living in this part of Europe. As an illustration, Brussels ranks 49th in World most expensive office locations, which is far better than European Top 10 cities (London, Paris, Frankfurt, Dublin, Geneva) (DTZ, "Office Space Across the World 2009, Global Office Occupancy Cost Survey")

    9. A great place to live

    Quality of life should also be taken into consideration before setting up your business or investing. The region that became Belgium in 1830 has long been one of the wealthiest and developed regions in the world : our churches, town halls, art masterpieces in Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp and Liège are vivid testimonies of medieval and Renaissance happy hours, when comparable growth could only be met in the northern Italian peninsula. Today Belgium enjoys one of the best quality of life. Belgium's major assets lie in household living space, advanced healthcare system, social services, retirement schemes and education.
    By the way, who could forget our exquisite Belgian cuisine which shapes that ideal "feeling home" sensation many foreigners immediately learn? We have more "multiple-star restaurants" per km2 than in any other country. High-standard museums and art galleries, theatres, cinemas, the famous Belgian seaside, the Ardennes and lovely countryside landscapes add another cultural dimension to that typical Belgian touch that many people like

    Copyrights © 2011 Belgian Federal Government ,
    * BBCL Board participating actively with RDCL FEB 24/2015

    * BBCL President & Board Members honoring H.E. The Belgian Ambassador in a Walking Dinner on FEB 26/2015

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