1. Economic location: at the center of a large and prosperous EU customer base
2. Access to European centers of decision making
3. A tradition of trade: more than 85% of Belgian GDP exported
4. One of the most popular destinations for foreign investment
5. Access to high quality labor force
6. A center of knowledge
7. Modern & efficient business infrastructure
8. Low real estate costs
9. High quality of life
10. Attractive tax regime
Click here to see an overview of the most beneficial tax rules
for foreign investors.
to see a powerpoint presentation why investing in Belgium is now more
attractive than ever.
The Investment Office at the Embassy is the federal point of
contact and 'help desk' for US companies considering setting up
operations in Belgium as part of their European expansion plans.
To this effect, the Office
• assists investors with relevant information on the taxation,
legal, human resources, incentive and business aspects of their
• prepares programs of contacts in Belgium
• provides general and tailor-made information on aspects about
the Belgian investment climate, upon request and through
publications as ‘Fact Sheets from Belgium’ , ‘Business Memo’ and
‘Setting Up in Belgium’
The office works in close cooperation with the Belgian Consulates
General, and the Regional Investment Offices of Brussels, Flanders
and Wallonia in the U.S.
Foreign investment has contributed significantly to Belgian economic growth since
the 1960s. In particular, U.S. firms played a leading role in the expansion of light
industrial and petrochemical industries in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, the U.S. is
Belgium’s third largest foreign investor, and the value of foreign investment between
the U.S. and Belgium exceeds $100 billion. In fact, U.S. investment stakes in Belgium
at the end of 2009 (figure 5) were on par with the combined U.S. investment position
in China and India. Over the last decade, Belgium has been the 11th overseas market for
U.S. foreign investment.
Figure 5 (click on graph for a large view)
Today, U.S. companies in Belgium account for approximately 6% of the total work
force. They are heavily represented in the chemical sector, automotive assembly,
petroleum refining, and pharmaceutical sectors (figure 6). A number of U.S. service
industries followed in the wake of these investments, such as banks, law firms,
public relations, accounting, and executive search firms. Overall, most of the U.S.
investment has been in the finance and insurance sector, and in chemical manufacturing.
But investment in the service industry, including law firms, accounting firms,
advertising agencies, and computer and management services, has more than tripled since
Figure 6 (click on graph for a large view)
U.S. foreign direct investment (stock) in Belgium totaled about $ 70 billion
(cumulative) in 2009, which is almost 50% more than U.S. investments in China.
Since 2005, the U.S has consistently been the origin of the most foreign investment
projects throughout the regions of Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia. US Direct
Investment (USDI) flows to Belgium have increased rapidly after a steep decline
during the economic crisis. Inflows into Belgium have been on the rise again since
mid-2009 to reach $9.1 billion in 2010, compared to about $5 billion in 2008-2009.
The 2010 level exceeded the pre-crisis level of $7.5 billion in 2007. U.S. firms
invested more capital in Belgium ($7.9 billion) than either Brazil, China, or India
in the first nine months of 2010.
As of 2008, U.S. companies employed 129,000 in Belgium, making the U.S. the second
most important foreign employer in Belgium. Almost half the employment was in
manufacturing, particularly in the chemical and transport industries. Investment in
R&D by Belgian affiliates of U.S. companies represented 19% of total R&D investment by
businesses in Belgium.
More than 1500 subsidiaries of U.S. companies have been
established in Belgium, many of them with European headquaters.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Belgium has released the
latest edition of its annual directory of US companies.
Copies of the directory can be ordered from the Chamber at the
American Chamber of
Commerce in Belgium
rue du Commerce 41 - Handelsstraat 41
tel. (011 322) 513-6770
fax (011-322) 513-3590
visit www.amcham.be for more
Mr. Luc Lippens
Economic and Commercial Representation of the
1065 Avenue of the Americas, 22nd floor
New York, NY 10019-5422
Tel.: (212) 399-8522
Fax: (212) 399-8517