Belize Investors Manual 2009

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Belize Investors Manual 2009

  1. 1. Alleyes onBelize. Belize, the small English speaking country on Central America’s pristine north-eastern coast, is poised to become an international location for niche market business. . In a world increasingly seeking natural products, where organic, fair trade, and eco-labelled certifications fetch price premiums; Belize’s natural assets, devel- opment policies and pro-business investment climate have created an ideal destination for investors looking to differentiate based on quality. . No other country has so emphatically proclaimed this niche-oriented destiny.Belize’s government, recognized by investors as non-intrusive, supportive and pre- dictable, is wholly committed to creating the conditions, policies and institutions to continue supporting the country’s «niche-oriented» development model and pre- serving the country’s distinctiveness. . There is an increasing demand for «made in Belize» products and services, for the simple reason that they carry an aura of quality and distinctiveness that differ- entiates them in the eyes of consumers. The list of premi- um driven and niche-market oriented products and services include: “fair-trade” branded cocoa, orange juice, exotic pepper sauces and experience-based tourism. . Various economic sectors are being targeted by investors attracted by Belize’s natural resources, convenient legal framework and export-oriented infrastructure. Tourism services and tourism-related activities, agri- business, aquaculture, furniture manufacturing and international financial services are among the economic sectors that are focusing the interest of potential niche investors around the globe.
  2. 2. Belize’s Natural Facts Size: Belize's total land mass measures 8,866 square miles. Its border with the Caribbean Sea stretches for 240 miles. Borders: Belize is bordered to the North by Mexico,South and West by Guatemala,and by the Caribbean Sea on its East. Marine Life: Belize’s coastal areas harbour manatees, dolphins,whale sharks,hawks- bill turtles,crocodiles,iguanas, shorebirds,and diverse fish species. Belizean waters are also home to over 30 species of commercially important fish, while the barrier reef havens 14 spawning sites for endan- gered fish. LandAnimals: The unspoiled rainforests and savannas of Belize house five species of big cats,spider and howler monkeys,tapirs,peccaries,and nearly 600 bird species. Plant Life: The majority of Belize's land area consists of tropical rainforests,which are home to an astonishing number of native flowering plants (including 250 species of orchids and more than 220 species of trees). . In Belize, business and nature meet, creating an attrac- tive and sustainable investment climate for investors seeking to develop products and services that cater to markets that value nature. . Belize is characterized by an incredible amount of biolog- ical and geographic diversity. The mainland, roughly the size of Belgium, contains tropical rainforests, coastal forests and grassland that host rare tropical flora and fauna. The Belizean shore is distinguished by its more than 100 coastal islands and the largest coral reef in the Hemisphere: The Meso-American Barrier Reef meas- uring 290 kilometres. . Weather conditions extend the location advantages of Belize. Mild average temperatures of 80°F are made even more pleasant by their low degree of variability. The average ocean temperature of 85°F also has mild temperature fluctuations due to the protective effect of the barrier reef. . Belizean products and services benefit from this «pristine aura» and carry a premium flavour to consumers in key markets in the U.S. and Europe. Niche by nature Maya Gold Project « Green&Black'sLimitedhas beenbuyingorganicallygrownand FairtradecertifiedcacaofromBelize forover10years.Thebeansareof suchqualitythatweproducechoco- latebars,hotchocolateandother productsthatmerittheirownlabel, «MayaGold».Ourbrandhasbeena greatsuccessontheworldmarket, somuchthatweareworkingclosely onourMayaGoldProjectwiththe ToledoCacaoGrowersAssociation, afarmerownedgroup,toexpand productionfrom30tonnestomore than500tonnesannually. Variousdepartmentsandagencies oftheGovernment,particularlythe MinistryofAgricultureandthe BelizeAgriculturalHealthAuthority, haveworkedhandinhandwithusto establishthenewcacaoorchards. Thiswillbecriticalforthefutureas thecropbeginstoproduceatmuch higherlevels.Ourconfidenceinthis combinedeffortissohighthatwe havecommittedtopayapremium priceforanextendedtimeand expectthatwewillbeactivefor manyyearstocome. » Gregor Hargrove Project Manager
  3. 3. Fair Trade makes the difference Maya Gold « Whenwestartedmakingchoco- lateitsoondawnedonusthat organicandfairtradewereinextri- cablylinked.What’sbetterforthe planethastobebetterforthe peopleworkingonit.Unlikeplanta- tion-growncacao,ourfarmersgrow theircocoatreesundertheshade ofindigenoustreesalongsideother crops,includingavocado,pineapple, coffee,papayaandbananas.The canopyofshadetrees-mahogany, cedarandteak-aregrownabove thecacaotreesandgingerisocca- sionallygrownunderneath. » Craig Sams Josephine Fairley Owners of Maya Gold, the first product to be awarded the Fair Trade mark in Belize. Belize Development Trust «Therearenoexotictropicalfruit winesintheUSAthatIknowof. Thiswouldbeagourmetitemretail- ingathighprices.Thereisnoreason onecouldn’tcatertotheexclusive- nessofwealthandpricestatus,in sellingsuchgourmetrarewines. » Ray Auxilou The Nature Conservancy,in partner- shipwiththeU.S.governmentandthe governmentofBelize,orchestrated a landmarkdebt-for-nature swapin August2001.Thishistoricdealfor- givesapproximatelyhalfofBelize's debttotheUnitedStatesinexchange forprotecting23,000acresoftropical rainforest,supportinglocalenviron- mentalorganizationsandinvesting inBelize'sprotectedareas. . Nature has blessed this country with unique natural riches. . Its government is committed to preserving this endow- ment and leveraging on these natural assets to promote the private sector growth that will ensure long-term sus- tainability. This vision is supported by a legal framework designed to promote non-destructive production methods and a private sector committed to delivering high-quality goods and services. . Belize’s government is proud to be viewed as a model of a developing country able to protect its environment and resources, while simultaneously welcoming foreign busi- ness and trade. The country’s success in its approach to economic growth has been supported by a 4.8% average annual GDP growth from 1993-2003. The government’s focus on ensuring an educated labour force has seen Belize achieve a 94.1% literacy rate. USA 87% Australia 3% Canada 10% Tourism 56% Services 6% Medical/Education 9% Manufacturing 29% Foreign Direct Investment 2004 (%) By Sector Source: Foreign Direct Investment 2004 (%) Country of origin Source: Beltraide Niche by vision
  4. 4. Foreign Direct Investment (Bz $ mn) 2 5 0 2 0 0 1 5 0 1 0 0 5 0 0 Jan-June 2002 2003 2004 Belizebenefitsgreatlyfromprefer- entialduty-freeaccesstomajormar- ketsunderthefollowingtrade agreements: CaribbeanBasinInitiative (CBI) for the UnitedStates,the CotonouAgreement fortheEuropeanUnionandthe CARI- COM Market.Theseagreementsallow Belizean products to enter these mar- kets duty-free and without other restric- tions. The Fiscal Incentives Act wasdesignedtoencouragegenuine investmentinBelizethroughtaxholi- daysanddutyexemptions.TheAct providesbothexistingandprospective investorswiththelegalandfiscal frameworktostimulateproductive economicactivities. TheFiscalIncentivesActwasamended in2002toencouragegenuineinvest- mentinSmallandMediumEnterprises (SME)throughpartialorfullduty exemptions.TheAct provides both existingandprospectiveinvestorswith thelegalframeworktoengagein economicactivities. . If you think niche, Belize is your way to grow. A strategic location. A stable economy. The only English-speaking country in Central America. An attractive legal frame- work for investment. Investment Incentives. An educated and hard-working labour force. Access to markets. Political stability.....The list of reasons to invest in Belize is a long one. . Belize is rapidly becoming an attractive and profitable location for investors looking to differentiate their prod- ucts and services based on quality. The natural charac- teristics of Belize support the development of businesses that compete on quality rather than those that compete solely on price or in commoditized markets. . Belize’s strengths fit well into global consumption and economic trends. As tourists, once content spending their leisure sunning at the beach, seek diverse experience- based destinations, as once-commoditized goods such as oranges are divided into categories like organic and eco- labelled, and as buyers consider the labour conditions and terms of trade under which their purchas- es were produced, Belize finds its self well-positioned to take advantage of these trends. . Belize is much closer than you think. In terms of dis- tance, culture, language, and business practices, Belize is close. . Foreign investors already operating in Belize refer to the ease of entry and small degree of government and administrative barriers to business. Ownership and currency regulations, present in other countries of the region, are absent in Belize, which allows firm’s to be fully owned by foreigners and for the repatriation of profits and dividends. And to prove what these investors are saying, all you have to do is look at the high levels of reinvestment in Belize over the past years. Brooks Tropicals « OurBelizeanpapayascarrythe Brooksbrandasrecognitionoftheir quality,buttheyalsomentiontheir Belizeanoriginwhichisrecognized asapremiumbyourcustomers. Belizehasprovideduswithastable regulatoryenvironment,anEnglish legalsystem,awilling,diligentand hard-workingworkforceandmana- gerialtalent. Suchenvironmenthas allowedourinvestmenttogrowsus- tainablyduringthe15yearsthatwe havebeengrowingandcommer- cializingourBelizeanpapayas. Ourexportshavegrownata50% yearlyratesince1998.Allour employeesareBelizeanaswehave notbeeninthenecessitytobring expatriatestomanageourbusiness. WehavebeenreinvestinginBelize becausethecountryoffersastable andpredictablebusinessenvi- ronmentandapro-investment government. » Craig Wheeling Chairman Brooks Tropicals Activesince1928,BrooksTropicalis today’sFlorida’s largest tropical fruit andvegetablesupplier.Since1995, the firm’sBelizeanPapayaoperation increasedthirty-foldwith1000acres currentlyproducingtheCaribbean RedPapayas.Thesubtropicalclimate foundinBelizeisidealfortheculti- vationandproductionofdelicate tropicalfruitsandvegetableswhich require consistently high tempera- turesandlevelsofhumidity. Niche for business
  5. 5. ThehumanhistoryofBelize couldbedividedintofourperiods: theancientMayaepoch, theSpanishconquest, theBritishcolonialperiodand modernBelize. Thistimelinehighlightsthekeymomentsofthesefoureras. 300BCto900AD ClassicMayaperiod,whenwhatisnow Belize wastheheartoftheMayaempirewith apopulationofonemillion. 1508–1511 FirstEuropeans—Spaniards—cometoBelize;Mayaresist. 1798 BaymendefeatSpanishatBattleofSt.George’sCaye onSeptember10,Belize’sNationalDay. 1838 Slavesemancipated. 1862 BritaindeclaresBritishHondurasacolony andamemberofBritishCommonwealth. 1931 WorsthurricaneinBelizehistorystrikes onSeptember10,killsabout2,000. 1949 ProtestsagainstdevaluationofBritishHondurasdollarlead toformationofPeople’sUnited PartyheadedbyGeorgePrice, sowingseedsofindependence. 1973 NamechangedtoBelize;capitalmoved toBelmopanfromBelizeCity. 1981 OnSeptember21,Belizebecomesfullyindependentmember ofBritishCommonwealth.Newconstitutionpromulgated. 1984 TheUDPwinsinlandslidevictoryinparliamentaryelections, ManuelEsquivelbecomesprimeminister.VoiceofAmerica transmitterinstalledatPuntaGorda. 1985 Esquivelgovernmentsignseconomicstabilizationagreement withU.S.AgencyforInternationalDevelopment(AID),requires governmenttoadoptneoliberaleconomicpoliciesincluding privatizationofpubliccorporationsandagencies. 1987 FormationofSecurityIntelligenceService(SIS)modelledonBritishM15. 1989 PUPnarrowlywinsSeptemberparliamentaryelection (15to13seats)thatreturnsGeorgePricetoprimeminister'soffice. GovernmentdismantlesSISandrelaxescontrolofmedia. 1991 Belizecelebratestenyearsofindependence.Guatemala recognizesBelizeasanindependentcountry. GDP Growth / Current Prices (%) Hotels and Restaurants 1 6 . 0 0 1 4 . 0 0 1 2 . 0 0 1 0 . 0 0 8 . 0 0 6 . 0 0 4 . 0 0 2 . 0 0 0 . 0 0 2000 2001 2002 2003 San Ignacio Belmopan CAYO ORANGE WALK BELIZE BELIZE STANN CREEK TOLEDO Punta Gorda Dangriga Belize CityBelize City Corozal Town Orange Walk Town Economic Activities Financial Services Fishing Cocoa Aquaculture Fruits Coffee Woods & Furniture Transportation Infrastructure International Airport Ports Main roads and Highways Commercial Free Zones Export Processing Zones Important Enteprises located in Belize Natural Zones Blue Hole Parks & Preserved Areas Lodges Maya Ruins Diving Areas Main Towns Belize City Belmopan (capital) Maya Mountains Bluecadia Bluecadia Marie SharpMarie Sharp Gallon Jug New River ShipsternShipstern NaturalNatural Preserve Atlantic Bank Wood Depot Medina's Lea's Chaa Creek Turtle Inn COPPOLA'S Blancaneaux Lodge COPPOLA'S Data ProData Pro e-business park Bluecadia Greens & BlackGreens & Black chocolate productschocolate products BrooksBrooks TropicalsTropicals Bluecadia Bluecadia Belize’s General Facts Official Name: Belize Nationality: Belizean Independence Day: September 21,1981 Major languages: English (official),Spanish,Mayan, Garifuna (Caribbean) and Creole. Population: 272.942 (2004) Density of Population: 25 persons per sq. km Life expectancy: 70 years (men),73 years (women) (UN) Capital city: Belmopan Principal cities: Belize City,Corozal,Orange Walk, San Ignacio,San Pedro,Dangriga,Placencia,Punta Gorda,San Antonio. Time Zone: CST ; GMT – 6 Climate: Sub-Tropical (dry and wet season) Rainfall: Annual rainfall ranges from 60 inches in the North to 200 inches in the South. Form of Government: parliamentary democracy – Bicameral Legislature Next Election: 2008 Monetary unit: 1 Belizean dollar = 100 cents Exchange Rate: US$1.00=Bz$2.00 Labor Force: 95.911 (2004) Literacy Rate: 93% Major Ports: Belize City,Big Creek and Dangriga Major International Airport: Phillip SW Goldson International,8 miles WNW of Belize City. International dialling code: +501 Internet domain: .bz
  6. 6. . Belize has become a natural niche for investors who want to develop their business in a stable, strategic, sustain- able and business-friendly environment. Selecting Belize has rewarded foreign investors from an array of economic sectors. Investors’ satisfaction, commitment and confi- dence in Belize are demonstrated by reinvestment levels, which are consistently high. Some sectors that have recently generated interest from investors include; . Tourism . Agribusiness . Aquaculture . Offshore Financial Services . Furniture Manufacturing . While the overarching benefits afforded by a positive overall business climate benefit the entire private sector, these industries have managed to stand out by coupling overarching benefits with the sector-specific advantages present in Belize. Sector profile
  7. 7. Tourism Belize is recognized as an outstanding destination for experienced-based or specialty tourism. Eco-tourism,adventure tourism,cultural tourism and archaeological tourism have flourished in Belize due to the country’s location,diverse and high-quality attractions,and hospitable population. Evidence of the quality of Belize’s tourist appeal is found by noting that 30% of tourist arrivals are by repeat visitors,and that during 2003 tourist arrivals grew 10.6% and tourist expenditure increased 17.74%. The Belizean tourism industry’s demonstrated success and commitment to maintaining attractions create an attractive platform for investors looking to cater to the growing number of experience- based tourists. Besides the private sector’s commit- ment to preservation,the government,aware of the value of its natural assets,maintains conser- vation policies that ensure the industry’s growth is sustainable. As consumers are increasingly using particular acti- vities rather than destination as the basis for select- ing their vacation spots,the outlook for specialty tourism is positive. Belize is the Natural Niche for this type of tourism,as few destinations allow clients to explore rain forests,Mayan ruins,sandy beaches and some of the world’s best dive sites within easy travelling distance. Belize’s tourism product,which includes not only excellent natural resources but also strong cultural and heritage components are well-suited for mar- ket segments such as historic/cultural travellers and geo-tourists. The availability of educated,motivated and com- mitted human resources is a critical factor for a serv- ice industry such as tourism. In the case of Belize, the labour force can be considered an asset for any investor. Comparative tourism growth rates TotalDemand Global CaribbeanRegion Belize 2004* 5.9 7.7 11.4 2005 –2014 * 4.5 4.5 5.6 Source: WTTC, February 2004, Belize: Travel and Tourism Forging Ahead *Adjustedforinflation Chaa Creek « Belizeisgoodfordoingbusiness, theinvestmentclimateispositive. Wehaven’twitnessedanygovern- mentinterventioninouroperation andtherearenomajorobstaclesto operatingabusiness.Thecountry hasevolvedpositivelyovertimeand continuestoimproveitsattractive- nessforforeigninvestors. OurexperiencewithBelizeans (workersandlabour)hasbeenexcel- lent.Thequalityoflocallabouris definitelyaverypositiveadvantage forBelize.Peoplearecommitted, participativeandeducated,theycan beconsideredahighvalueresource foraservicebasedventureandthey takeaspecialprideinbeingpart ofagrowingbusiness.Manyofour workershaveover15yearsworking withusandlabourturnoverisdefi- nitelyverylow. » Mick Fleming” Chaa Creek TheLodgeatChaaCreekhasprovid- edecologicalandarcheological tourismservicesinBelizesince1981. Sincepioneeringtheseservices,the Lodgehasachievedconsistent business growth,expandingtheirfa cilitiesandrangeofservices,andhas workedwithsomeoftheworld’s premier nature and adventure tour companies. Blancaneaux Lodge « Belizeisafavouritedestination forthoseindividualslookingfora completelydifferent,authenticand exclusivetouristexperience.Our guestshighlyvaluetheinteraction withthecommunityandthepristine flavourthatBelizecarries. Foraserviceoriented-businesslike tourism,labouristhefundamental resourceandweareveryhappy withtheavailability,educational levelandcommitmentofhuman resourcesinBelize.” Ann Wood General Manager BlancaneauxLodge,asecludedretreat fromcivilization,ischaracterizedby anunaffectedelegancewithrustic comfortincompleteharmonywithits surrounding,spectacularpieceof Belizeanrealestate.Strategically locatedwithinreachoftwoofMundo Maya'smostspectacularandimpor- tantcitadels,TikalandCaracol. BlancaneauxLodgeisoneofFrancis FordCoppola’s two high-end resorts inBelize. Amongthemainnaturalfactors thatBelizeisabletoprovidetoits visitorswefind: Second largest barrier reef in the world andthelargestinthehemisphere Pristinewaters The rainforest Wildlife Mayanruinsandculturalinfluence TheGarifunaculture EasyaccesstoBelizevialand, airorsea AnEnglishspeakingenvironment Market Origin of International Land-Based Arrivals to Belize Source: Belize Tourism Board web site - 2002P data UnitedStates Other Mexico Guatemala Ex-Pat Belizeans Canada Europe • • • • • • • •
  8. 8. Agribusiness The positive experience of current investors in the agribusiness area is probably the most convincing evidence that can be provided to future investors about the potential of the agribusiness sector. Companies such as Brooks Tropicals,a leading U.S. fruit company; Marie Sharp’s,Belize’s most recog- nized exporter of hot pepper sauces; Green & Black’s,U.K.’s top-notch specialty chocolate manu- facturer and Bluecadia,a U.S. aqua-culture investor, are taking advantage of Belize’s Natural Niche in developing their businesses. Because these investments are targeting the export market,Belize’s proximity to major North American markets has allowed these companies to easily access North American consumers. Belize’s ACP/EU membership allows certain exports to the EU to receive preferential treatment such as duty free and quota free access. In 2005 the Marie Sharp’s expects to export over 80% of its products to the U.S. and to Europe. But Belize is also an attractive investment location for agribusiness because high quality productive land is available for a large range of agricultural products and there is an abundant reserve of marine resources such as lobster,Tilapia,Bay Snook, shrimp,conch and various deep-sea fish. Belize is just starting to develop its aquaculture potential and there is an increasing demand to invest in this export-oriented sector. Marine exports represent the second fastest growing export prod- uct in Belize: growing at an average rate of 13% between 1990 and 2002; compared to 4% growth in aggregate exports during the same period. A 300 day annual growing season,an average water temperature of 27°C (81°F) with low temperature volatility,and the country’s position within the 5% hurricane landfall probability belt,make climatic conditions favourable for a variety of aquaculture production methods. Belize’s agribusiness is producing high quality prod- ucts that are being differentiated in the main con- sumer markets and are therefore benefiting from premium treatment in these niche markets. Belize is particularly well positioned for organic and eco-labelled production,as the conversion process from conventional to certified cultivation is facili- tated by farmers’ low reliance on prohibited fertil- izers and pesticides. Production of vegetables such as hot peppers,tomatoes,sweet peppers,cabbage, onion,broccoli,celery and cauliflower has reached sufficient quantities to where organic certification has high potential. The Belize Organic Producers Association (BOPA) has prioritized mango,cashews, and papaya as those crops with greatest potential for organic cultivation. Other fruits produced by Belize with potential for organic certification are sour apples,avocados,pineapples,citrus and coconuts. Belize provides a natural niche for investors that are looking for a location that will allow them to brand, differentiate and niche market their products. Brooks Tropicals « OurBelizeanpapayascarrythe Brooksbrandasrecognitionoftheir quality,buttheyalsomentiontheir Belizeanoriginwhichisrecognized asapremiumbyourcustomers. Belizehasprovideduswithastable regulatoryenvironment,anEnglish legalsystem,awilling,diligentand hard-workingworkforceandmana- gerialtalent. Suchenvironmenthasallowedour investmenttogrowsustainablydur- ingthe15yearsthatwehavebeen growingandcommercializingour Belizeanpapayas. Ourexportshavegrownata50% yearlyratesince1998.Allour employeesareBelizeanaswehave notbeeninthenecessitytobring expatriatestomanageourbusiness. WehavebeenreinvestinginBelize becausethecountryoffersastable andpredictablebusinessenvi- ronmentandapro-investmentgov- ernment. » Craig Wheeling Chairman Activesince1928,BrooksTropicalis today’sFlorida’s largest tropical fruit andvegetablesupplier.Since1995, the firm’sBelizeanPapayaoperation increasedthirty-foldwith1000acres currentlyproducingtheCaribbean RedPapayas.Thesubtropicalclimate foundinBelizeisidealforthecultiva- tionandproductionofdelicatetropi- calfruitsandvegetableswhich requireconsistentlyhightempera- turesandlevelsofhumidity. Bluecadia « Belizeprovidesacomparative advantageinrespectofaquaculture. Theavailabilityofalargeareaof protectedwatersthatresults fromthelongbarrierreefprovides atremendouspotentialfor fishfarmingforawidearrayof fishspecies.» Mr. John Smith BluecadiaAquacultureGrouphas beeninvolvedinshrimpfarmingsince 1989whenseveralprivate investors tookoverasmallshrimpfarmin Ladyville,Belize.Sincethecompany's inception,itsfacilitieshaveexpanded asBluecadiahasbecomethelargest aquaculturecompanyinBelize.Today Bluecadia'sfarmingoperationscon- sist of three farms,two hatchery sites, andamodernprocessingfacility.
  9. 9. Services DataPro e-Business Park DataPro e-Business Park is the region's premiere infrastructure provider for enterprises with mis- sion-critical,offshore e-Business operations: offers state-of-the-art office space (60,000 square feet area build-to-suit),communications with modern utilities and a built-in fiber-optic link to a Network Operations Center and ancillary services tailored to the needs of companies that wish to take advan- tage of the unique e-Business opportunities created by the fusion of a Free Trade Export Processing Zone,traditional offshore financial services,and the latest information Technologies. The Park is equipped for those companies that wish to expand or relocate their operations to a secure and stable offshore location that offers exceptionally attrac- tive fiscal incentives,security,and privacy. Companies that locate at DataPro benefit from: .100% exemption on all taxes and import duties for computer equipment,software,furniture, and all other materials and equipment needed to operate your e-business. .100% exemption on taxes relating to the impor- tation of a company vehicle and vehicle parts. .100% exemption on income tax .100% exemption on capital gains tax .100% exemption on sales tax and value added tax. International Financial Services Belize’s favorable legislation for offshore financial service providers,high integrity standards,emerg- ing domestic financial industry,and proximity to American,Mexican and Canadian markets,create the platform off of which the county’s offshore financial services industry has grown. Since 1990 more than 25,000 offshore businesses or trusts have been registered in Belize. The 1990 International Business Companies Act (IBC Act) guar-antees owner’s confidentiality,security and privacy and provides tax exemption for all of an IBC’s income and dividends. The International Financial Services Commission (IFSC) provides the institutional framework for shaping government policies on the regulations and professional stan- dards of such services. The Commission created a supervision unit known as the Financial Intelligence Unit in 2002. The IFSC is also responsible for collecting,sorting and disseminating reliable and timely information to those seeking market research on these services. As anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism com- pliance becomes of greater importance to the inter- national community,offshore industries able to maintain integrity will be become more attractive to investors. Belize is one of a few locations to have enacted Code of Conduct legislation,whereby alle- gations of illegal activities must be formally report- ed. The Code of Conduct legislation has benefited Belize’s offshore financial services industry by assur- ing customers that by monitoring and enforcing professional standards the industry’s integrity will be maintained. Client verification procedures such as the Know-Your-Customer approach have been introduced to further assure the industry’s stan- dards. A list of service providers can be found on the IFSC website: www.ifsc.gov.bz. Atlantic International Bank « Wearewitnessingagrowing interesttoestablishinternational bankingoperationsinBelize.Atthis time,eightinternationalbanking licenseshavebeenalreadyissued andweexpectthisnumberto increaseintheshortterm. Belize’slegislationforinternational oroffshorebankingoperationscan bedescribedasstrictenoughto avoid«flybynightinvestors». Our bankwasestablishedfiveyearsago andthegrowthofourfinancialoper- ationsconfirmsthatBelizeisagood jurisdictionforaninternational bankingoperation. » Ricardo Pelayo Assistant General Manager
  10. 10. Belize Trade and Investment Development Service works to help international and local investors in establishing and developinga business in Belize. Belize has a very attractive value proposition for the niche-oriented investor. We aspire to attract quality-driven players who value the pro-business environment , our competitive investment climate, favorable export location and infrastructure. Ten reasons to invest in Belize 01 A strong democracy 02 Minimal red tape 03 Environmentally friendly legislation 04 Preferential market access to Europe,Canada, the USA and the Caribbean 05 Short distance to major US markets: Two hour flight to and from Miami, New Orleans,and Houston 06 Adjacent to fairly large Central American markets and has bilateral trade agreements with neighboring countries. 07 All-weather roads linking major towns and ports. 08 Relatively low-cost labour and energy. 09 Best land and sea conditions for producing specialty tropical foods. 10 A combination of natural factors like climate, the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere,numerous islands,excellent fishing,safe waters for boating,jungle wildlife, and Mayan ruins,supporting a high-end tourist industry. Making business happen Know more on investing in Belize at www.belizeinvest.org.bz or consult our BIG Belize Investment Guide.
  11. 11. Main Office 14 Orchid Garden Street Belmopan City, Belize Central America Telephone (+501) 822 3737 822 0175 Fax (+501) 822 0585 Belize City Office 1st Fl. Central Bank Bldg. Gabourel Lane Belize City, Belize Telephone (+501) 223 1913 Fax (+501) 223 2464 beltraide @belizeinvest.org.bz belizeinvest.org.bz

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