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US companies are vital to Belgium’s innovation ecosystem

US companies contribute significantly to the success of Belgium’s innovation-driven economy. Their deep engagement in the local ecosystem – as measured by investment, employment and collaboration – is detailed in a new report released today by the American Chamber of Commerce in Belgium (AmCham Belgium).

“US companies recognize that Belgium has a winning combination of talent, experience, infrastructure and public support for innovation,” said Marcel Claes, Chief Executive of AmCham Belgium. “But the new federal and regional governments will have to continue to play their part in ensuring the right conditions for R&D activities.”

Innovation underpins competitiveness, economic growth and high value-added jobs. According to AmCham Belgium’s latest research, US companies in Belgium:

  • Account for one-third of private sector investment in R&D, a total of €1.86 billion in 2012;
  • Employ more than 5,000 researchers;
  • And collaborate intensely with universities and public research institutes.

While US companies are attracted to Belgium for their R&D activities by the highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce, successful industry clusters and good collaboration between public and private actors, fiscal incentives are another important factor.

“Belgium doesn’t need more tax incentives to become the best in class in encouraging R&D and to attract more investments. All it takes is some governmental courage to relax the red tape and allow access to what the country already has to offer,” said Brent Springael, Chair of AmCham Belgium’s R&D Task Force.

Product Showcase

Belgium’s R&D success can be seen in the number and variety of products and services that are created here. AmCham Belgium’s new report includes a showcase of 11 products developed by US companies in Belgium. These products represent different industry sectors, including biopharmaceuticals, chemicals, financial services, food & drinks and technology. Among them is Zerose™, a new zero-calorie sweetener developed by Cargill in Vilvoorde. “Belgium is home to Cargill’s European R&D Center. We have been active here for more than 60 years and have recently reaffirmed our commitment to the country with a substantial investment in the renewed R&D Center for the EMEA region in Vilvoorde,” said Cis Van Doninck, General Manager, Cargill Belgium.

Download The Importance of US Companies in Belgium: R&D and Innovation