In the 2017 edition of our Priorities for a Prosperous Belgium, our flagship policy publication containing recommendations to the Belgian Government and the political parties, we look at our member companies' main concerns about investing and doing business in Belgium: country governance, the labor market, corporate taxation and mobility.
While the labor market, corporate taxation and mobility are perennial problems, this is the first time that country governance has been raised as a priority concern by our member companies. It is a transversal issue, because without improvements in the way the country is governed, fundamental progress in the other areas will be hard to achieve.
On corporate taxation, for example, the Summer Agreement, while welcome, does not go far enough to improve Belgium’s competitiveness – it will reduce the headline rate but not the overall tax burden on business, because of the need to be budget neutral. Some of the compensatory measures also send an unwelcome signal to investors, missing the opportunity to shift toward a more collaborative relationship between the tax administration and taxpayers.
Increased collaboration between public and private actors and between different public authorities will be necessary to achieve fundamental progress in all of these policy areas.
In addition to country governance and corporate taxation, our member companies are also concerned about the labor market and mobility, both of which are experiencing profound change.
Lowering the barriers to doing business, encouraging and rewarding the spirit of enterprise, improving the interface between public administration and private actors, creating forward-looking policies - these are all necessary to strengthen the country's economic fabric.
If it successfully embraces transformation, Belgium can maintain and improve its international competitiveness, attracting investment and jobs. AmCham Belgium is ready to be a partner to all levels of government in this process.