We asked this simple question to our US Market Specialist, Marc VANSTEENKISTE. Here’s the answer.
With the end of the financial crisis, companies are ready to launch new enlarged investment plans and the historically strong economic links between the United States and Wallonia/Belgium bring them naturally to consider the southern region of Belgium as the perfect hub for their business on the "Old Continent". Many other US companies have already set the step before and this for many reasons as they testify hereunder.
The excellent and very central location of Wallonia on the European map, combined with state-of-art logistic multimodal infrastructures (roads, waterways, train and air) is certainly the most appreciated reason, allowing a very appealing proximity with European and with African clients. This is confirmed by a majority of those major US companies established in Wallonia to whom we have asked the question about the determining factors for their decision. This explains why many major international companies have established in Wallonia their European logistic distribution center.
The second most cited reason to invest in Wallonia is the quality and the availability of the workforce. Baxter, Johnson & Johnson and Sketchers insist very much on this point while Coopervision says it was impressed by the "skills of the people the company’s management met".
The financial reasons ranked 3rd and 4th and are related to the subsidies granted by the Region or to the relatively low price of land per square meter.
Finally, we notice that most foreign companies keep on investing massively in Wallonia. This is due to real estate availabilities, often close or next to their initial location, but also – so they say – because “there is no single reason to leave a region which gives them entire satisfaction”.
For those who are not yet convinced by these assets, Wallonia opened a welcome office dedicated to North American companies where they can find free-of-cost fully furnished offices and personal support in order to ease their investment project, to learn about all financial or fiscal incentives and to set up a valuable network of professionals.