Getting to know your Expert Advisors: McGuireWoods

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The British Chamber of Commerce works with a broad range of Accredited Service Providers to bring you the best professional advice for international businesses who are in or entering the Belgian market. This series aims to give you a bit of an insight into these companies; showcasing how they can help you develop your business. British Chamber members can book a free first consultation with any of our expert advisors.

McGuireWoods are a US law firm with a wide scope that have experienced rapid growth in the last few years and now have offices in London and of course in Brussels.

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What should be the top-3 questions companies looking to do business in Belgium should be asking?

  1. What type of contract (agency, distributorship, franchise) or establishment (subsidiary or branch) should we use to distribute our products in Belgium? Indeed, what type of contract and establishment do we need to be adequately protected from claims from local distributors and customers and tax and other authorities?
  2. How to hire and fire employees? Indeed, can we hire an employee without a written contract? Can we provide for a non-compete undertaking by the employee? Is a trial period allowed? Do we need a judgment or approval by any authority to terminate an employee’s contract? Do we need to pay the employee an indemnity when we terminate his/her contract? Do we need to motivate a termination?
  3. What state or regional aid could we get (subsidies and/or tax benefits)? Will I qualify to obtain subsidies or other benefits such as tax exemptions related to the creation of jobs, the acquisition of equipment, the renovation of real property and the protection of intellectual property? Can I get such subsidies and benefits from federal regions (Brussels, Flanders or Wallonia) and/or from the Belgian federal government?

What is one emerging trend in the business/regulatory environment which you would advise companies in/entering Belgium to be particularly proactive about?

Data privacy is a growing regulatory concern for companies, be it internally (employees) or externally (suppliers, clients and prospects).

Why is it important for new entrants in Belgium to speak with you?

We offer a wide range of legal services for new entrants, such as corporate, IP and ICT, real estate, commercial contracts, labour, competition and trade and customs law matters. We do not practice immigration, tax and complex labour law.

If you’d like to organise a meeting with any of our Accredited Service Providers, or are interested in becoming one, get in touch with James Pearson – our Business & Trade Executive at james.pearson@britishchamber.be

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