Belgium greatly values the presence of corporate headquarters and makes every effort to attract them. Although the business of attracting corporate headquarters is deemed a cross-sector activity rather than an economic sector in its own right, we view it as a high-value-added service activity. Belgium is home to European and regional headquarters set up by multinational companies from all over the world.
Brussels is one of Europe’s most attractive cities to set up companies. According to the European Cities Monitor 2009, published by the international consultancy and property company Cushman & Wakefield, Brussels ranks fifth in Europe, behind London, Paris, Frankfurt and Barcelona. Multinationals like General Electric, IBM, Toyota, Microsoft, Monsanto, Pfizer and Levi Strauss & Co have set up European or regional offices in Brussels.
The siting of corporate headquarters is becoming more and more globalised, with increasing mobility between countries. To induce companies to set up their corporate headquarters in Belgium, we endeavour to offer outstanding services in areas such as passenger transport and communications infrastructure.
Hundreds of American, Japanese and other multinationals have already set up their European headquarters in Belgium.
Corporate headquarters are a major source of what are often high-value-added jobs. They employ a sizeable and highly skilled white-collar workforce and generate significant local demand for numerous specialised business services to do with the media, law, accounting, consulting and so forth.
Brussels, the capital of Europe, offers all the specialised business and financial services that headquarters need. So do Wallonia and Flanders.
Key factors about Belgium for anyone deciding to set up their corporate headquarters here:
- Its geographical location at the heart of Europe (proximity to customers);
- Brussels is the centre of EU and NATO decision-making;
- easy access to the major markets via excellent transport links (accessibility);
- a highly qualified, multilingual workforce (quality and availability of labour);
- a high quality of life, capable of attracting international staff;
- a favourable tax system;
- an outstanding telecommunications infrastructure.