Economic Overview & Business Opportunities
Located in Central America, Belize shares the borders with Guatemala, Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. Belize is the home of the population of around 0.3 million people, and it is currently one of the countries with low population density. The strategic location of Belize has positioned it as one of the convenient hubs accessing both regions, making it one of the investment hotspots in the region.
Belize’s economy is predominantly based on agriculture, tourism, and services. Despite its small economy (Belize is one of the smallest economies in Central America), the World Bank ranked Belize 121 in the ease of doing business ranking out of 190 countries – a benchmark that portrays Belize’s business-friendly environment. On top of that, Belize’s stable and democratic government is the important player that attracts foreign investment in the country. The Government of Belize welcomes foreign investors with its pro-business policies and incentives.
Besides, several trade agreements have catalysed the investment opportunities in exportation of Belize:
- Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI)
- Caribbean Common Market (CARICOM)
- Belize-Guatemala Partial Scope Agreement (PSA)
- World Trade Organization (WTO)
Why Invest in Belize
Other than the strategic location of Belize, the wide array of investment incentives available is the important factor that drives the influx of foreign investments into the country. The government incentives include:
- Quality Retirement Program (“QRP”)
- Commercial Free Zone (“CFZ”)
- Tax advantages in Export Processing Zones (“EPZs”
- 100% foreign ownership (land or property)
- 100% business ownership for foreigners
- Belizean products are duty-free to Canada
- No estate tax or capital gains tax
- Low property taxes are very low
- Tax holiday
1. The Qualified Retired Person’s Program (QRP)
The Qualified Retired Person Program (abbreviated QRP) is well known as the retirees’ premier option if they choose to spend their retirement in Belize. Specifically designed for retirees (with consistent and stable streams of income through their retirement benefits, pension, or other investments), the benefits of the QRP program is as follows:
- Tax exemption that applies to all income and receipts
- Tax exemption on the import duties, personal items, as well as vehicle
- Can be employed or able to business outside Belize, with the condition that no Belizean residents involved in the business.
- QRP program can be extended to spouse and children.
2. The Commercial Free Zone (CFZ)
The Commercial Free Zone Act was set up with the purpose to attract foreign investment through manufacturing, distribution, warehousing, and other free zone activities. In CFZ, merchandise that is kept within the CFZ could be sold duty-free (for both wholesale and retail) for direct export as well as to foreign diplomats. Besides, CFZ’s investors are eligible for Belize tax exemption (income, capital gains, corporate) for the first 10 years.
3. The Export Processing Zones of Belize (EPZs)
As the name implies, the Belize’s Export Processing Zones (EPZs) is set up to attract foreign investment that will boost the export manufacturing production and agricultural markets.
Tax advantages in EPZs:
- Exemption of import/export duties
- No import restrictions on raw materials
- No import/export or trade licensing requirements
- Tax exemptions on
- sales and consumption,
- property and lands,
- capital gains,
- trade turnover,
- foreign exchange, excise, and transfer
- Exemption on dividend taxes
- A 20-year tax holiday
- Exemption from Supplies Control Act and its regulations
In addition to all the advantages above, Belize is the only English speaking country in the region – another key factor that brings in foreign investments in the country. if you are looking to expand your business or start a foreign company in Central America, Belize makes the right choice.
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Chairman & Co-Founder
CEO & Co-Founder