Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT), the official government body for the region, has announced an 183% jump in the number of UK investment projects in the first six months of 2021, compared to last year. As many insurers and brokers know, there is – more or less – a sort of UK-EU trade equivalence on financial services regulation at the moment. That truce may not last indefinitely of course. That means it could be wise to set up a corporate entity within the EU somewhere, depending on the costs involved.
Astrid Geeraerts, Head of Investment at Flanders Investment & Trade in the UK (based at the Belgian Embassy in London) explains the increase; “The rise is a direct result of Brexit, with many UK companies taking the decision to set up a base within the EU so that they only have to manage the bureaucracy of entering the bloc only once.”
Flanders offers one of the world’s highest concentrations of people, money and industries. One UK company that has made the move to Flanders is Pricecheck, the global wholesaler. Pricecheck set up a legal entity in Antwerp prior to Brexit, as a pre-emptive move. In January 2021, Pricecheck tried to continue to deal directly with countries in the EU, as they had before, but found new challenges to overcome. Each country was interpreting the new rules slightly differently and it became a much more complicated process than before.
AN EU BASE SIDESTEPS LOTS OF TRADE OBSTACLES
To help more UK companies FIT is hosting a free webinar on customs procedures on inbound goods, future changes and logistics. It is taking place on Tuesday 14th September at 10am (UK time), it will include speakers ready to share their expertise on how to trade in Europe, including Daan Schalck, CEO North Sea Port and Vice Chairman at Espo, Jeroen Sarrazyn, expert on EU-UK trade at Customs and Excise department at the Ministry of Finance in Belgium. There will also be a session led by Customs and Excise.
Jeroen Sarrazyn explained their involvement: “In Flanders, the Customs administration has a history of a coordinated approach with the importers and exporters. In Customs and Excise we’re working hard to ensure that post-Brexit trade with the UK runs efficiently and smoothly.”
To register for the event, free of charge, visit http://www.flandersinvestmentandtrade.com/ukwebinar