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Government is in the need to create an environment which will attract investments by both local and foreign investors. Subsequently it enacted a series of legislation in the early 90's to allow for a range of incentives which will encourage and assist any feasible and genuine development activity in its ongoing search for sustainable national development.The criteria to qualify for the different incentives varies but once met the recipient obtains full benefits which can be a tax holiday or import duty exemption on inputs or a combination of both. Benefits, however, will be dependent on the type of incentive awarded to the potential investor.
With abundant natural resources, strategic geographic location to export markets in North, Central and South America Belize offers excellent investment potential in several areas. These different types of investments include agriculture, agro-processing, horticulture, mariculture, tourism related activities and growing service industries.Investments are particularly welcome if they result in increased production, introduce state-of-the-art technology, and enhance local management skills, promote greater efficiency through competition, diversification of the economic base and facilitate access to foreign markets.
Foreign investment will be particularly encouraged in export oriented activities with the intention to increase employment, and employment opportunities, and the development of local technological capacity.
Belize continues to enjoy preferential access to markets in Europe, Canada, United States of America, and the Caribbean. However, the realities of NAFTA, GATT and other regional and international trading blocks require that the Government of Belize shifts its emphasis away from the traditional exports of sugar, citrus, and bananas to non-traditional products such as papayas, mangoes, pine apples, and other exotic fruits and vegetables including export oriented manufacturing and ser vices.
While government supports and encourages joint venture and partnership investments as a preferred mechanism for investment capital it allows one hundred percent foreign ownership of an enterprise. Indeed, Belizean laws allow for the following categories of business ownership:
* Private Companies
* Joint Ventures and Cooperatives
* Sole Proprietor
* Public Investment Companies
* International Business Companies
* Trust Funds
The creation of productive employment is recognized by Government. Therefore, it will per mit the importation of highly skilled personnel to complement the Belizean labor force provided that appropriate training programs for nationals are established. It will certainly encourage that a local counterpart be assigned for every foreign skilled personnel employed by the company.