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Incorporation time: 1 day
Shelf companies: Yes
Nominee Shareholder: Yes
Nominee director: Yes
Belize has a population of over 310,000 and is located to the South of Mexico. Belize is a member of the British Commonwealth and is the only English-speaking country in South America. It declared its independence from the United Kingdom in 1981. Although its official language is English the majority of the population also speaks Spanish.
Belize is renowned for the speed of establishing companies and the protection of the anonymity of their shareholders. However, the very exotic nature of this destination can hamper trade with Europe. International Business Companies (IBCs) are the most popular form of offshore company in the country, they offer the protection of limited liability and are governed by the Belize IBC Act.
The creation of an IBC is not subject to any minimum share capital requirements, residency or citizenship requirement. IBCs may not do business in Belize or even hold property there (though property such as office space can be leased if required). Only activities relevant to the establishment and administration of IBCs may be conducted with residents of Belize (lawyers and accountants, etc.).
Company formation is subject to a Government fee of between 100 USD or 1,000 USD (depending on share capital). All company information must be held by a resident agent in Belize however they are bound by the Law not to disclose it.
Belize is still classified by the OECD as a non-cooperative territory, but this jurisdiction may be of interest, provided that it does not charge clients for services such as messaging or consultancy, service provision and other intangible services, which could cause them tax problems. In this instance, you may use a British company as a gateway.
IBCs are overwhelmingly the most common structure used in Belize and the company can be incorporated in one day.
Belizean agriculture is the second largest force in the country’s economy. Banana farming is the largest employer and sugar cane accounts for 50% of exports. Each year the European Union imports 42,000 tonnes of sugar from Belize. There is also a great deal of fishing in Belize. The agricultural sector employs 19.5% of the active population, compared to 17.9% for industry.
Services are the mainstay of the economy, of which 16% are related to tourism. Tourism is very popular because the country has outstanding natural assets: a pleasant climate, the longest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere and safe waters for diving, 127 islands, rivers which are ideal for rafting, jungle and Mayan ruins.
Finally, oil reserves discovered in 2005 generate 4,000 barrels per day.
Goods can be transported to Belize by the 3,000 km of road, only 500 of which are tarmacked. Waterways are mostly shallow and extend to almost 1,000 km. The main ports are those of Belize City, Big Creek, Corozol and Punta Gorda. The country also has four tarmacked airports.
The minimum wage in Belize is 228 EUR per month.
As part of the Commonwealth, the Head of State of Belize is the Queen of the United Kingdom who appoints the Governor (Sir Colville Young) to represent her. However, the executive power is actually held by the Prime Minister (Dean Barrow) and the Council of Ministers. For its part, the legislature is bicameral. It is composed of the House of Representatives with its 29 members elected for five years and the Senate and its 8 members.
The two major parties in Belize are the United Democratic Party and the People’s United Party.