Investment Opportunities in Belgium

Overview by

Protection of Foreign Investment


Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors

  Belgium OECD United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 8.0 6.0 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 6.0 5.2 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 7.0 6.8 9.0 5.0
Index of Investor Protection**** 7.0 6.0 8.3 5.0

Source: Doing Business

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action. **** The Greater the Index, the Higher the Level of Investor Protection.

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Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
Belgium has in place policies to facilitate the free flow of financial resources. Credit is allocated at market rates and is available sufficiently to foreign and domestic investors without discrimination. Belgium is fully served by the international banking community and is implementing all relevant EU financial directives.

In 2006 104 different banks were represented in Belgium; 54 Belgian or foreign-owned institutions are incorporated under Belgian law, and 50 institutions are incorporated under foreign law.

Acquisition of Holdings
Obligation to Declare
Direct foreign investments are not submitted to a preliminary authorization, but in some activity sectors, the investor has to ask for an authorization from the government: banks, insurances, food products production or sale, retail trade.
Find Investment Service Providers in Belgium on

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Office Real Estate and Land Ownership

Possible Temporary Solutions
In Brussels mainly, you can find some short term appartment contracts , or serviced appartments.
Many business centers with flexible solutions.
The Possibility of Buying Land and Industrial and Commercial Buildings
Same as other european countries, with no specific restrictions.
Risk of Expropriation

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Investment Aid

Forms of Aid
Belgium is divided into three regions, Brussels, Flemish and Wallonia. Granted aids depend and vary according to the company, the sector and the chosen region. To find out about these aids, the Service of Foreign Investors of the Ministry of Economics should be contacted.
Investment incentives are also described by the OFI (Office for foreign investors) in Wallonia and the FFIO in Flanders.
Organizations Which Finance
Belgium Forbes Companies and National Bank of Belgium.

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Investment Opportunities

The Key Sectors of the National Economy
- Food: Food industry comprise a major sector of the economy. The world's largest food groups are active in Belgium ( Danone, InBev, Coca-Cola, Unilever Belgium, Kraft Foods Belgium, Nestlé, Materne, Ferrero, etc.). More about foodstuffs on the website Invest Belgium.


- Biotechnology: In 2006 some 140 companies were active in biotechnology in Belgium. Universities and research centres have forged strong links with economic players to develop this forward-looking sector. Belgian companies accounted for 16% of Europe's turnover in biotech and around 10% of R&D spending. More about biotechnology on the website Invest Belgium.

- European headquarters: Brussels offers a strategic location, an attractive real estate market and the presence of key European decision-making bodies, making it the ideal headquarters for major corporations. Hundreds of multinationals – mainly American and Japanese – have their European headquarters in Belgium. More about European Headquarters on the website Invest Belgium.

- Transport and logistics: Belgium is the perfect location for a logistical base, headquarters or distribution centre in mainland Europe. The infrastructure, skills and IT facilities provide an ideal environment and beachhead for conquering the European market. More about transport and logistics on the website Invest Belgium.

- Automotive: Over the past 20 years Belgium has turned out an average of 1,000,000 vehicles a year, most of them destined for export. Belgium is a key player in vehicle assembly. With plants like Opel Antwerp, Ford Genk, Audi Forest/Brussels, Volvo Europa, Van Hool (busses) and Truco, we truly have a strong presence in the production market. More about automotive on the website Invest Belgium.

- Aerospace: Belgian industry plays a key role in the aerospace sector. Many aircraft bear the stamp of Belgian know-how: Airbuses, Boeings, the F-16, the Rafale, the Falcon 7X, the Ariane 4 and 5 space programmes, SPOT earth observation satellites to name but a few. In its economic development plan, the Walloon Region specifically promotes competitiveness in the aerospace industry. More about aerospace on the website Invest Belgium.

- Pharmaceuticals.

High Potential Sectors
There is a significant growth in the service sector. The country switched from heavy production to light manufacturing and began producing finished products instead of steel, textiles, and raw materials. Belgium imports basic or intermediary goods, adds value to them through advanced manufacturing and then exports the finished products. With the exception of its remaining coal resources, Belgium has no significant natural resources.
Privatization Programs
The government has also engaged in initiatives to privatize many companies that were formally owned by the state. Ongoing efforts are underway to privatize 2 of the largest remaining companies: Sabena (the national airline) and Belgacom (the main communications company). Since 1993, successive governments have privatized some 280 billion Belgian francs worth of business.
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Ministry of finances, Public Procurements (in French)
EBP, Tenders and Projects in Belgium
Globaltenders, Tenders & Projects in Belgium
Tenders Info, Tenders in Belgium
Ted - Tenders Electronic daily, Business opportunities in EU 27

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Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer

Sectors in Decline
Construction, steel.

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Finding Assistance For Further Information

Investment Aid Agency
Invest in Belgium.
Other Useful Resources
Doing Business Guides
Invest in Belgium
Belgium Commercial Guide 2010 - Buy USA

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Experts Views (1)
  • Investment Climate

    Highlights for the U.S. Department of Commerce's Commercial Guide to Doing Business in Belgium. Belgium has traditionally maintained an open economy, highly dependent on imports and international trade for its well-being.

    U.S. Commercial Service on 16 Apr 2011 related to Investment Opportunities in Belgium

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  • U.S. Commercial Service

    US GovTrade Promotion, the United States