Regulation of inbound foreign investment

Government investment promotion programmes

Does the state have a foreign investment promotion programme?

The three Belgian regions are competent to attract and promote foreign investment in Belgium, designing and implementing their own policies. They have concluded several cooperation agreements, between themselves and with the federal state, to coordinate their actions.

Applicable domestic laws

Identify the domestic laws that apply to foreign investors and foreign investment, including any requirements of admission or registration of investments.

Belgian legislation does not distinguish domestic and foreign investments and does not require any authorisation specific to foreign investments. As such, there is no limit on foreign ownership in Belgium and both foreign and domestic investors are free to set up a business (subject to sector-related authorisations).

Relevant regulatory agency

Identify the state agency that regulates and promotes inbound foreign investment.

Belgium’s regions are responsible for regulating and promoting inbound foreign investment. Consequently, the Brussels Invest and Export, Flanders Investment and Trade, and Wallonia Export-Investment agencies are responsible for promoting inbound foreign investment for their respective region. A liaison unit for international investment exists, composed of government agency representatives from federal public services finances, foreign affairs and economy, and the prime minister’s office.

Relevant dispute agency

Identify the state agency that must be served with process in a dispute with a foreign investor.

Bilateral investment treaties concluded by Belgium or the Belgo–Luxembourg Economic Union are usually silent on this point. The state agency should be identified on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the nature of the claim and the state entity involved. Under a cautious approach, notices should be served to the federal prime minister, the minister of foreign affairs and the minister of the economy, as well as the relevant regional government.

Law stated date

Correct on

Give the date on which the above content is accurate.

31 August 2020.