Belize - Country Commercial Guide
Market Opportunities
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Belize’s proximity to the United States, along with convenient air and maritime shipping routes, offers major competitive advantages for U.S.-based companies.  The country’s official language is English, and the population predominantly speaks either English, Spanish, or a combination of both, facilitating business with U.S. companies and making Belize an emerging market for offshore outsourcing and commercial gateway to Spanish-speaking Central America.  Key government priorities include boosting economic growth, attracting foreign investment, and enhancing private sector productivity.

Belize’s tourism industry continued to be the most important economic driver in 2022 and served to boost revenues from the service industries. Relatively inexpensive direct flights to the United States, an English-speaking population, year-round tropical climate, visa-free entry, fixed-exchange rate to the U.S. dollar, a rich biodiversity, and archeological heritage have all made Belize as an attractive tourist destination for American citizens. Belize is also increasingly recognized for its second-home buyers’ market.  The Government of Belize has also implemented several tax and visa policies to encourage foreign retirees to reside in Belize. Belize has no estate or capital gains taxes, and property taxes on undeveloped land are similar to those in most of the United States.

Belize’s foreign investment regime is generally open with 100 percent foreign ownership permitted in almost all sectors, with exceptions in some tourism and cultural preservation sectors.  According to Belize’s Central Bank, net foreign direct investment (FDI) into Belize was US $207.25 million, an increase of 38 percent from 2021.  It was channeled primarily into tourism-related real estate, construction, hotels, and restaurants.  U.S. investments in these sectors decreased slightly in 2022, but still accounted for over half – US $122 million – of all FDI inflows into Belize.

In 2022, the government launched a National Investment Policy and Strategy (NIPS) as well as the Micro, Small, Medium Enterprise Strategy to improve the framework for domestic and foreign investment. The government also passed a credit reporting act and are working on the establishment of a credit bureau and collateral registry to increase the availability of financing for small- and medium-sized businesses.  As part of the government’s e-governance agenda, several digitalization projects are underway, including the land and business registries, and the digitalization of firms and government services.  The government also conducted diplomatic and trade missions in key regions to promote the country as an investment destination and credible export market The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) is responsible for promoting investment in Belize’s priority sectors. 

The organization maintains statistics and information on establishing new businesses in Belize and manages the Government of Belize’s investment concessions and incentives programs.  BELTRAIDE identified agriculture, agro-processing, aquaculture, logistics and light manufacturing, food processing and packaging (particularly non-plastic and biodegradable), tourism and tourism-related industries, green and blue economy, offshore business process outsourcing (BPOs), and renewable energy as priority sectors.

The country’s available arable land is well suited for investments in agriculture, agribusiness, and energy, though investors should be aware of relevant government land-use policies to protect and conserve Belize’s environment and eco-tourism. The country currently produces primary products including sugar, citrus, bananas, beans, rice, corn, and cacao.  Agribusiness investments are needed to build a more resilient sector through agricultural storage, affordable food packaging and preservation, and improved technologies to support agricultural yields, such as irrigation, non-toxic pest control, and disease management. Opportunities exist in sustainable energy, particularly in the areas of biomass, hydro, solar, electric vehicles, and waste-to-energy technologies.

The Government of Belize continues to expend significant resources in road infrastructure development and rebuilding the economy through support to the tourism and agriculture sectors. Many public works and economic recovery projects are financed through grants from donors or borrowing from regional and multilateral development banks.