Clear and favourable legal conditions for businesses

Belgian Limburg offers a business-friendly legal framework.

Customs Legislation

Because of its central location in Europe and its logistics infrastructure, Flanders is a major player in importing goods in the EU and a gateway for distribution within the wider European market. Consequently, the Hasselt region has developed a flexible system of law and tax facilities related to imported goods.


Competition policy in Flanders falls under the jurisdiction of the Belgian federal government. It applies throughout Belgium. With regard to both procedure and substance, the legal provisions are modeled on EU competition law.

If the combined turnover of your businesses involved in a merger or acquisition exceeds EUR 100 million in Belgium and the turnover of each of at least two of the participating businesses exceeds EUR 40 million in Belgium, the transaction is subject to mandatory pre-merger filing in Belgium.

The transaction is not subject to national control if the combined aggregate worldwide turnover of all entities involved is more than EUR 5 billion and the aggregate EU turnover of at least two of those entities is more than EUR 250 million, unless each of the entities involved derives more than two-thirds of its aggregate EU turnover within one member state. In that case the transaction is subject to EU jurisdiction.

Intellectual property

Intellectual property in Belgium is divided into two categories:

  • industrial property (ex.: patents and trademarks),
  • industrial designs and copyright.


Setting up a business in Flanders means you will need to obtain the necessary permits and ensure compliance with environmental law. On this subject the Flemish regional government and the Belgian federal government must comply with EU regulations and standards.

Environmental permit

There are three kinds of activities that require environmental permits:

  • Category I: truly hazardous activities - You must obtain a permit from the provincial authorities. The approval involves a prior investigation of the environmental impact of your activity.
  • Category II: less harmful activities - You have to follow more or less the same procedure as in Category I.
  • Category III: activities with limited effects on the environment - You only need to notify the municipal authorities before you start your activities to.

Building permit

Most construction, reconstruction, demolition and renovation works in Belgium relating to buildings require a building permit. The procedure for obtaining such a permit takes place at the local, provincial and regional levels. Minor changes to existing buildings and minor construction projects are generally exempt.

In 2015 these 2 permits will be combined into 1 single permit, called the “omgevingsvergunning”. This should lead to the fact that investment projects will be granted faster, easier (less administration) and cheaper. More details will be available during 2014.


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