WHY INVEST IN THE KORTRIJK REGION?

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WHY INVEST IN THE KORTRIJK REGION?

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Amsterdam

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WHY INVEST IN OUR REGION?

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1 creatiVity and forward tHinking great design is in our blood The Kortrijk region has its finger on the pulse. It is home to many creative people and dynamic businesses. This is Belgium’s designer heartland: home to top artist Arne Quinze, the international fair Interieur and numerous specialist lifestyle and design companies. In the Kortrijk region good design runs deep, creating a vibrant and enjoyable place to live and work.

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exPert induStry cluSterS our Knowledge clusters taKe the lead

The Kortrijk region may be small in size, but it is a big player in several industries. The region is home to four leading industry clusters: (1) digital imaging, communication and entertainment technology, (2) plastic processing, (3) mechatronics and (4) lighting technology. Each of these clusters comprises a dense network of specialised companies, dedicated knowledge centres and integrated education programs.

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networkS of SPecialiSed Sme S our economic bacKbone

The Kortrijk region is renowned for its networks of specialised SMEs. These highly agile, forward-thinking businesses are constantly finding new and better ways to do business. Their innovation helps them stay competitive and open new markets. With a concentration of companies focusing on niche markets and specialist high quality goods and services, the Kortrijk region enjoys a healthy economy that is fertile for new investment.

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dedicated knowledge research and education meet professional needs

Our university and the various university colleges in the region work closely together and collaborate with industry; our high quality education system satisfies the needs of a competitive economy. We also have several specialist knowledge centres including the Flanders Centre for Plastics, Flanders InShape and 3D Square. Higher education, R&D and specialist knowledge make an attractive package for many renowned international corporations. We are home to Barco, Cisco, Bekaert, Microsoft, Wienerberger and many more.

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outStanding international acceSSibility get here fast

The international highway E17 connects the Kortrijk region with Ghent and Antwerp to the north, and with Lille and Paris to the south. Brussels is just one hour by car, Paris takes two hours and Amsterdam takes three. London by road in just 2½ hours away. We are situated just 20 km from Lille-Europe rail station, the most heavily used high-speed train hub in the world. From here you can connect with Brussels in 38 minutes, Paris in under one hour and London in just over 1½ hours. Amsterdam by high-speed train takes 3½ hours. Our region has an international airport (Kortrijk- Wevelgem International Airport), which is mainly used by business travellers. Other international airports within a 100 km radius are Brussels (Brussels Airport), Lille (Aéroport de Lille) and Ostend (Ostend Airport).

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WHY INVEST IN THE EUROMETROPOLIS LILLE-KORTRIJK-TOURNAI?

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1 a firSt for euroPe cooperation that benefits eurometropolitans The Eurometropolis of Lille-Kortrijk-Tournai was the first European Territorial Cooperation Group (ETCG) in Europe. The Eurometropolis brings together 14 institutions who have decided to collaborate to support and promote crossborder, trans-national and inter-regional cooperation. Their vision is ambitious: do away with cultural, political and administrative borders, turn diversity into an asset and, above all, make the daily lives of the Lille-Kortrijk-Tournai Eurometropolitans easier.

2 tHe largeSt croSS-border metroPoliS in the centre of the brussels-paris-london triangle With a territory covering 3 550 km2, the Eurometropolis is home to two million inhabitants; it is the largest crossborder metropolis in Europe. In France, the city of Lille is the country’s second tertiary centre and ranks third in France for office space. On the Belgian side, the dual nationality metropolis is second only to Brussels for economic activity. Lille, Kortrijk and Tournai are the three pivotal cities within this cross-border Eurometropolitan area. And its location right at the heart of the Brussels-Paris-London triangle means it is perfectly placed for much bigger international influence.

3 a euroPean croSSroadS three cities, two nations, one vision It is here that cultures mix and new ideas are born. Straddling the border between Germanic and Latin Europe, the Eurometropolis is a melting pot that bridges national and cultural divides. Lille-Kortrijk-Tournai is where diversity and cooperation combine; it’s easy to live and work together.

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WHY INVEST IN FLANDERS?

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1 Highly qualified workforce people are our most powerful asset Worldwide, Flanders enjoys the reputation as a region with a highly productive, flexible, eager-to-learn and multilingual workforce. And it is not just hearsay: these characteristics are backed up by several international surveys. Thanks to Flanders’ dynamic economy, Belgium tops the leaderboard for overall productivity (GDP per person employed), surpassing neighbouring France, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK. Flanders’ education system is also world-renowned. Time and again surveys by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reveal the excellent performance of Flemish students: in science, mathematics and reading skills, Flanders finds itself among the world’s elite.

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Social stability we build consensus

Belgium has developed a consensus model for industrial relations based on negotiation between all parties. Our open approach means Flanders has one of the lowest levels of strike activity in Europe.

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excellent infrastructure highly developed connectivity

The performance of Flemish transport networks is unrivalled. The road, rail and inland waterway networks are among Europe’s densest, but we are proud that traffic keeps moving. We also build on our maritime trading heritage. Our seaports on the southern edge of the North Sea have played a key role in our development. With the ports of Antwerp, Zeebrugge, Ghent and Ostend, the region is an ideal oceangoing gateway and able to handle quickly goods from all over the world.

4 A knowledge-based economy The driving force of innovation Flanders has an impressive track record when it comes to discovery research and innovation across a wide range of disciplines and a variety of industry sectors. Most notably Flanders hosts four Strategic Research Centres (imec.be vib.be - vito.be - ibbt.be) that collaborate with academics and businesses across the globe.

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WHY INVEST IN BELGIUM?

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1 an ideal teSt market europe in miniature At the crossroad of cultures, Belgium is the ideal test market for new products and services in Europe. Multinationals choose Belgium to field-test their products because Belgium has such a diverse population. Marketing and advertising costs are lower than in other EU countries too.

2 taxeS belgium is better than you thinK On paper, Belgium’s tax regime may not stand out from other countries. But the Belgian government has established several initiatives and incentives to make it more attractive. The notional interest deduction lets companies that use their own equity for investments to deduct a (fictitious) interest from their tax base. This deduction eliminates the differences in how risk capital and debt capital are treated for tax. There is also a tax incentive for patents, a significant benefit for companies with R&D activities. The patent deduction allows companies to deduct 80 percent of their gross patent income from their tax base. The new domestic dividend withholding tax exemption is yet more proof of Belgium’s business-friendly approach. By choosing Belgium as their holding location for investments in Europe, corporate investors from treaty countries may repatriate European profits without paying any dividend withholding tax or limiting their profits. The Belgian tax system has also created attractive conditions for employers, with lower wage costs for foreign executives. Expenses can also be claimed for any costs associated with expatriate employees.

3 truly international we welcome the world Belgium is certainly a small country, but it hosts NATO’s European Headquarters, the permanent representatives of the European Commission and the Council of the European Union, numerous international banks, lobby groups and many international corporations.

4 quality of life hidden behind the clichÉs Belgium is more than just beer, chocolate and fries. Our standard of living is among the highest in the world. Thanks to a social security system, low crime rates and the low costs for housing and education, Belgians feel safe and secure. Belgium offers the best of both worlds: the vibrant atmosphere and rich culture of cities like Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges and Kortrijk, as well as the tranquillity of the countryside, the seaside and the Ardennes hills and valleys.

5 Prominent location within the blue banana For centuries Belgium has benefited from its geographic location, where Europe’s three major cultures - Anglo-Saxon, Germanic and Latin - meet. The country is perfectly positioned for trade and travel, competition and cooperation. The entire country is contained within the so-called ‘blue banana’, an area which covers one of the world’s highest concentrations of people, wealth and industry.

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This brochure has been developed by the Regional Development Agency Leiedal. Leiedal came into being in 1960 on the initiative of the municipalities of the Kortrijk region (Flanders, Belgium). In the past five decades, Leiedal developed into a multifaceted intermunicipal cooperation that supports the broad socioeconomic and spatial development of the region. Locally driven development forms the key factor. Leiedal, 2012 Intercommunale Leiedal President Kennedypark 10 B-8500 Kortrijk - Belgium www.leiedal.be - [email protected] +32 56 24 16 16

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