Distribution and agency—Belgium—Q&A guide

The following Commercial practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Distribution and agency—Belgium—Q&A guide
  • 1. May a foreign supplier establish its own entity to import and distribute its products in your jurisdiction?
  • 2. May a foreign supplier be a partial owner with a local company of the importer of its products?
  • 3. What types of business entities are best suited for an importer owned by a foreign supplier? How are they formed? What laws govern them?
  • 4. Does your jurisdiction restrict foreign businesses from operating in the jurisdiction, or limit foreign investment in or ownership of domestic business entities?
  • 5. May the foreign supplier own an equity interest in the local entity that distributes its products?
  • 6. What are the tax considerations for foreign suppliers and for the formation of an importer owned by a foreign supplier? What taxes are applicable to foreign businesses and individuals that operate in your jurisdiction or own interests in local businesses?
  • 7. What alternative distribution relationships are available to a supplier?
  • 8. What laws and government agencies regulate the relationship between a supplier and its distributor, agent or other representative? Are there industry self-regulatory constraints or other restrictions that may govern the distribution relationship?
  • 9. Are there any restrictions on a supplier’s right to terminate a distribution relationship without cause if permitted by contract? Is any specific cause required to terminate a distribution relationship? Do the answers differ for a decision not to renew the distribution relationship when the contract term expires?
  • More...

Distribution and agency—Belgium—Q&A guide

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to distribution and agency in Belgium published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: February 2021).

Authors: Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick—Sebastian Tytgat

1. May a foreign supplier establish its own entity to import and distribute its products in your jurisdiction?

A foreign supplier is entitled to establish its own entity to import and distribute its products in Belgium as the freedom to perform economic activities is one of the basic freedoms established in Belgian law.

Belgian authorities can, in principle, impose restrictions but European legislation (specifically the freedom of establishment as laid down in articles 49 to 55 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union) always has to be respected.

For some specific sectors (eg, credit agents and insurance agents), prior approval or permission by the authorities is required.

2. May a foreign supplier be a partial owner with a local company of the importer of its products?

Insofar as such ownership would not infringe Belgian or European competition law (which would depend on the specific circumstances of the case), a foreign supplier may incorporate a local Belgian company together with its supplier.

3. What types of business entities are best suited for an importer owned by a foreign supplier? How are they formed? What laws govern them?

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