American investmentin Belgium falls
28 October 2004, BRUSSELS – The US, one of the biggest foreign investors in Belgium, is starting to lose interest in the country, it was reported on Thursday.
28 October 2004
BRUSSELS – The US, one of the biggest foreign investors in Belgium, is starting to lose interest in the country, it was reported on Thursday.
Last year, the total investment by American companies amounted to 8.54 percent of Belgium's gross domestic product – making Belgium the US's sixth most popular place to do business.
In 2002, there were as many as 1,200 American businesses in Belgium, with the 579 largest employing about 140,000 workers.
However, just 1 percent of American money invested in the EU in the first three months of 2004 was in Belgium. After reaching peak levels in 2001 and 2002, US investment has fallen in the last two years and is now at its lowest since 1994.
Although Belgium is not alone in Europe to have lost out as the US invests in markets such as Eastern Europe and Asia, it has fared worse than some of its neighbours. The Netherlands and Luxembourg have become attractive for American businesses, offering more generous tax regimes.
Between 1995 and 2003, Belgium has fallen from being the fifth to the 10th European country of choice for American investors.
One reason for this is that US investment here has been heavily concentrated in the declining industrial sector (32 percent compared to the average in the rest of Europe of 19 percent), particularly in the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors.
Ludo Deklerck, secretary general of Amcham, the American chamber of commerce in Belgium, said more needed to be done to attract US holding companies into Belgium, like banking and consultancies.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news