Belize - Country Commercial Guide
Market Entry Strategy
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To start a new business, U.S. investors should establish a local company through the Belize Companies and Corporate Affairs Registry (tel: +501 822 0421; email:; website: Foreign investments must be registered with the Central Bank of Belize and adhere to the Exchange Control Act and related regulations. After forming a company, owners must acquire trade licenses from the local city or municipal town council and the company must register for the requisite business and general sales taxes.

Belize’s capacity to manage registrations is limited and remains paper-based and bureaucratic despite efforts to reform the system.  American investors should be prepared for significantly longer processing and wait times than in the United States, as the average time needed to start a business is 48 days, and the average time to register property is 60 days.

U.S. exporters generally enter the Belizean market through a local importer/wholesaler, who acts as an agent/distributor in Belize. A typical distribution chain for an American-made product involves the U.S. manufacturer or distributor, the local importer or wholesaler (who may act as the distributor), the retailer, and, finally, the buyer/consumer.

In some instances, U.S. exporters have regional distributors that are located elsewhere in Central America. Belizean companies often prefer to do business directly with a U.S.-based company given geographic proximity, a shared language, and a proclivity to build deeper relationships directly with the parent company without added costs that come from intermediary distributors. 

Given Belize’s small population and territorial area, there is very little geographic differentiation of consumer markets within the country.