The U.S. Department of State’s Investment Climate Statements provide information on the business climates of more than 170 economies and are prepared by economic officers stationed in embassies and posts around the world. They analyze a variety of economies that are or could be markets for U.S. businesses. The Investment Climate Statements are also references for working with partner governments to create enabling business environments that are not only economically sound, but address issues of labor, human rights, responsible business conduct, and steps taken to combat corruption. The reports cover topics including Openness to Investment, Legal and Regulatory Systems, Protection of Real and Intellectual Property Rights, Financial Sector, State-Owned Enterprises, Responsible Business Conduct, and Corruption.
According to Belgium’s Central Bank’s 2023 spring projections, the Belgian economy performed better in the last quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023 than expected, avoiding the short and shallow recession of the Euro Area. Belgium’s moderate economic growth was almost fully driven by household consumption due to the automatic wage indexation scheme and the government support measures during the energy crisis and to a lesser extent by local government electoral cyclical spending. In the short term the Belgian economy will continue to grow with annual growth expected to reach 1.4% in 2023 while activity should gradually lose traction in the long term as the expansion of purchasing power, and hence household consumption growth normalizes.
The labor market remains very tight, with a historically high vacancy rate weighing on economic growth. Year-on-year HICP headline inflation peaked in October 2022 and started falling from November 2022 onwards, mostly driven by plummeting gas and electricity prices. In September 2023, inflation came in at 2.39% or one-fifth of its peak level of 13 %. Belgium’s budget deficit is projected to remain high at 4.7% of GDP in 2023 and the general government debt ratio is expected to fall slightly in 2023, to 104.7 % of GDP. According to Belgium’s central bank, in subsequent years, however, high budget deficits will put public debt on a structural upward path, to just below 108 % of GDP in 2025.
Belgium is a major logistical hub and gateway to Europe, a position that helps drives its economic growth. Since June 2015, the Belgian government has undertaken a series of measures to reduce the tax burden on labor and to increase Belgium’s economic competitiveness and attractiveness to foreign investment. A July 2017 decision to lower the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25% further improved the investment climate. The current coalition government has not signaled any intention to revise this tax rate.
Belgium boasts an open market well connected to the major economies of the world. As a logistical gateway to Europe, host to major EU institutions, and a central location closely tied to the major European economies, Belgium is an attractive market and location for U.S. investors. Belgium is a highly developed, long-time economic partner of the United States that benefits from an extremely well-educated workforce, world-renowned research centers, and the infrastructure to support a broad range of economic activities
For more information on the investment climate of Member States, please consult the relevant Member States’ Country Commercial Guide.