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Belgium ‘scarcely on shortlist of investors’

Published on 16/11/2005

16 November 2005

BRUSSELS — Belgium is scarcely on the shortlist of investors because it is too expensive to do business here, a director with the American Chamber of Commerce in Brussels said.
“Also businesses that are already here preferably invest elsewhere,” Marcel Claes said in an interview published in newspaper ‘De Tijd’ on Wednesday.

Claes pointed to the recent decision by pharmaceutical firm Pfizer against building a freeze-dry centre in Puurs, close to Antwerp.

Belgium has in the past taken advantage of its central position in Europe to attract investors, but Claes claims that this factor is increasingly losing weight.

“Other factors have increased in importance: the costs of doing business and the flexibility of the labour market. And that’s where Belgium scores badly,” he said.

If businesses make a shortlist of countries where it is possible to invest in, they look for general matters such as company tax, social security and the tax system.

“And then Belgium is quickly eliminated,” Claes said, adding that taxes and social security premiums are too high in Belgium to attract investment.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news