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Verhofstadt attracts US investment

Published on 20/01/2006

20 January 2006

BRUSSELS — US pharmaceutical company Johnson&Johnson will invest an extra EUR 100 million in Belgium this year, Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt said in New York on Thursday.

The announcement was made as the Belgian leader disclosed several successes from his five-day visit to the US. The main purpose of the visit is to attract greater US investment in Belgium.

In doing so, Verhofstadt has been promoting Belgium’s notional interest deduction or its policy of fixed deductions for personal wealth.

During a meeting with Johnson&Johnson board member Mike Dormer, the Belgian prime minister discussed the company’s investment plans.

In response, Dormer said Johnson&Johnson — which owns Belgium’s Janssen Pharmaceutica — has a long-term investment plan for Belgium, newspaper ‘De Tijd’ reported.

Dormer also said Johnson&Johnson planned to invest EUR 100 million in Belgium in 2006 after its announced investment last year of a new European distribution centre for medicines.

The company is one of the biggest foreign investors in Belgium and employs 5,000 workers at its 18 locations. It invested EUR 150 million in infrastructure and more than EUR 1 billion in research and development.

Verhofstadt said the additional investment is due to the introduction of the notional interest deduction, the establishment of a medicines agency and the conversion to European guidelines for clinical research.
Meanwhile, Verhofstadt also said US IT company EMC will set up a research centre in Mechelen together with French telecoms firm Alcatel, Belgian security specialist Ubizen and Flemish research institute IBBT.

The research centre will start operations on 1 February and will employ several full-time researchers. Studies will focus on the storing and securing of personal computer information.
Verhofstadt also said the Bank of New York will launch a European subsidiary in Brussels in future. The bank asked the federal government’s Finance Ministry for a special fiscal arrangement.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news