Known for its investor friendliness, Belgium is now seeking to attract & retain foreign investors. As part of this effort, the government of Belgium has pledged to lower corporate income tax & amend the Companies Act. So, if you’re planning on registering a company in Belgium, you couldn’t have chosen a better time.
FDI Regulation in Belgium
Due to its geographical position, advanced transportation network & city of Brussels (which hosts a number of international & EU institutions), Belgium serves as magnet to foreign investors. Some of the industries that non-domestic investors are traditionally interested in include:
- agro-industrial complex
- space industry
- manufacture of advanced materials
- finance sector
Belgium has nol legislation specifically dedicated to investment contracts with state-owned organizations. Therefore, general provisions of contractual & possibly administrative law are applied to all investment transactions. Under Belgian legislation, state-owned organizations can seek arbitration in relation to contracts that they conclude. Settlement of disputes through arbitration in the Kingdom of Belgium is a very popular form of resolving differences.
Belgian law doesn’t draw a distinction between foreign & domestic investors. Therefore, foreign investors seeking to invest in Belgium don’t have to apply for any specific permission. Ownership of foreign investment isn’t subject to any restrictions, either. Therefore, domestic & foreign investors should have no problem opening a company in Belgium, provided they’re natural or legal persons & have a legal address in the country. Some BITs to which Belgium is a signatory don’t contain a requirement for a registered office, while others demand that potential investors be engaged in entrepreneurial activities or have permanent residence in the country.
Resolving an Investment Dispute in Belgium
Under Belgian legislation, assets that belong to the Kingdom of Belgium are exempt from seizure & enforcement of awards handed down by foreign courts. However, public institutions must provide information on the assets that will be taken into account during resolution of an investment dispute in the Kingdom of Belgium.
If stated incorrectly, assets can be replaced with other property, providing it is located in the Kingdom of Belgium & meets all requirements. If a public institution believes that the said assets can assist it in fulfilling its objectives or ensure uninterrupted provision of its services, it can appeal a seizure in courts in Belgium.
To accomodate awards handed down by foreign courts, Belgium made amends to its legislation recently. Under the new regulations, creditors will be unable to recover assets owned by foreign states which are located in the Kingdom of Belgium. However, there’s three exceptions to this rule, namely:
- there are no objections to the seizure of assets
- property for enforcement requirements has been allocated or reserved
- activities for which the assets are used include economic & commercial ones & they’re connected to the institution against which a claim for the property right is filed
Under Belgian FDI legislation, citizens of any country can establish an enterprise in Belgium. If you are interested in investing in Belgium, consider contacting IQ Decision UK. We will be happy to provide you with legal advice on the regulation of foreign direct investment in Belgium.