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
. 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
. 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.
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,
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-
LandAnimals: The unspoiled
rainforests and savannas
of Belize house five species of
big cats,spider and howler
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
Fair Trade makes
Owners of Maya Gold,
the first product to be awarded
the Fair Trade mark in Belize.
Belize Development Trust
The Nature Conservancy,in partner-
. 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.
Foreign Direct Investment 2004 (%)
Foreign Direct Investment 2004 (%)
Country of origin
Niche by vision
Investment (Bz $ mn)
2 5 0
2 0 0
1 5 0
1 0 0
Jan-June 2002 2003 2004
CaribbeanBasinInitiative (CBI) for the
Belizean products to enter these mar-
kets duty-free and without other restric-
The Fiscal Incentives Act
exemptions.TheAct provides both
. 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
. 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.
today’sFlorida’s largest tropical fruit
require consistently high tempera-
Niche for business
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
Belize CityBelize City
Orange Walk Town
Woods & Furniture
Main roads and Highways
Commercial Free Zones
Export Processing Zones
Important Enteprises located in Belize
Parks & Preserved Areas
Marie SharpMarie Sharp
Data ProData Pro
Greens & BlackGreens & Black
chocolate productschocolate products
Belize’s General Facts
Official Name: Belize
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)
Capital city: Belmopan
Principal cities: Belize City,Corozal,Orange Walk,
San Ignacio,San Pedro,Dangriga,Placencia,Punta
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 –
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
. 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;
. 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.
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
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
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
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
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
premier nature and adventure tour
FordCoppola’s two high-end resorts
Second largest barrier reef in the world
Market Origin of
Arrivals to Belize
Source: Belize Tourism Board web site - 2002P data
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
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
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.
today’sFlorida’s largest tropical fruit
Mr. John Smith
sist of three farms,two hatchery sites,
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Companies that locate at DataPro benefit from:
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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
Assistant General Manager
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
Short distance to major US markets:
Two hour flight to and from Miami, New
Adjacent to fairly large Central American
markets and has bilateral trade agreements
with neighboring countries.
All-weather roads linking major towns
08 Relatively low-cost labour and energy.
Best land and sea conditions for producing
specialty tropical foods.
A combination of natural factors like climate,
the longest barrier reef in the Western
fishing,safe waters for boating,jungle wildlife,
and Mayan ruins,supporting a high-end
Making business happen
Know more on investing in Belize at
www.belizeinvest.org.bz or consult our
BIG Belize Investment Guide.
14 Orchid Garden Street
Belmopan City, Belize
Telephone (+501) 822 3737
Fax (+501) 822 0585
Belize City Ofﬁce
1st Fl. Central Bank Bldg.
Belize City, Belize
Telephone (+501) 223 1913
Fax (+501) 223 2464