Legal & Regulatory

Belgium is a Safe and Stable Market for Exporters

The Ministry of the Economy (www.mineco.fgov.be) deals with fair trade practices on the internet (pricing, advertising, etc). Data- protection issues related to the internet or ecommerce are handled by the Belgian data protection authority (www.privacycommission. be). The regulation of internet access tariffs is done by the Belgian Institute for Post and Telecommunications (www.bipt.be). The Bel- gian legislator recently adopted an act strengthening the powers of the Belgian Institute for Post and Telecommunications. [28]

There is no legislation specifically addressing (business on) the inter- net. The following Acts lay down rules that can have an impact on business on the internet:

  • the Acts on Market Practices and Consumer Protection of 6 April 2010 (two acts), which replaced the old Trade Practices Act of 14 July 1991;
  • the Personal Data Processing and Privacy Act of 8 December 1992 and the Royal Decree of 13 February 2001, which imple- mented this Act;
  • the Copyright and Associated Rights Act of 30 June 1994;
  • the Software Protection Act of 30 June 1994;
  • the Database Act of 31 August 1998;
  • the Brussels-Capital Region Electronic Communications and Broadcasting Act of 30 March 1995;
  • the Gambling Act of 7 May 1999, as amended by the Act of 10 January 2010;
  • the Telecommunications and Electronic Signatures in Judicial and Non-judicial Proceedings Act of 20 October 2000;
  • the Computer Crime Prevention Act of 28 November 2000;
  • the Electronic Signatures and Certification Services Act of 9 July 2001;
  • the Collective Labour Agreement No. 81 on the protection of employees’ electronic communications of 26 April 2002;
  • the Electronic Payment Services Act of 10 December 2009;
  • the French Community Decree of 27 February 2003 on radio broadcasting;
  • the Information Society Acts of 11 March 2003 (two Acts);
  • the Royal Decree regulating advertising by electronic communications of 4 April 2003;
  • the Conditional Access Information Society Act of 12 May 2003;
  • the Anti-Domain Name Piracy Act of 26 June 2003;
  • the Electronic Communications Act of 13 June 2005;
  • the Flemish Radio and Television Broadcasting Decree of 27 March 2009;
  • the German-speaking Community’s Radio Broadcasting Decree of 27 June 2005;
  • the Trusted Third Parties Act of 15 May 2007;
  • article 314bis of the Belgian Criminal Code on wiretapping; and • the Royal Decree of 21 January 2009 regulating the online sale of medicines.

FX policies

Belgium is a member of the Eurozone. Payments and transfers within Belgium and with foreign countries require no prior authorization. Belgium has no debt-to-equity requirements. Dividends may be remitted freely except in cases in which distribution would reduce net assets to less than paid-up capital. No further withholding tax or other tax is due on repatriation of the original investment or on the profits of a branch, either during active operations or upon the closing of the branch

GDP:

$467.9 billion

OECD Risk Score:

1

Ease of doing business index

52nd

Household income

$31,112