REPORT #321 June 2000

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

Number one: As a foreign investor, you are a speculator, can calculate your risk and profits and have your own financing.

DON'TS: Do not ask for a monopoly, or pseudo monopoly under another name.

Do not ask for a guaranteed fixed price.

Do not ask for an exclusive government contract, giving you an exlusive fixed price, or pseudo monopoly.

Do not waste the government's time by trying to sell them your idea. Just come in and start in business. The politicians do not need to see you.

Beware of Belizean lawyers. The latest scam is to charge you a percentage of your investment as a consulting fee. ( e.g.: $5000 bill for 10 minutes conversation )

DO: Do be willing to compete with similar businesses!

The government will help you with tax concessions to import your machinery if you want it, but it requires considerable extra paperwork and extra employees.

Do take a local Belizean partner if you are short of cash. Locals have access to a multitude of government borrowing agency funds. This will cost you company shares, I expect.

Do get an estimated bill and work to be performed within a time frame, with penalities for the lawyer if he or she fails to perform; from a lawyer in writing, signed and notarized, before you start discussing your business proposition. Be sure you don't get billed for the consultation on the estimate.

Some companies in Belize require a majority of the members of the Board to be Belizeans, check the legislation. You can buy the law books from the Government Printers. They are not yet on the internet.

Most of the legal work can be done yourself, cheaper and far better in quality than what a Belizean lawyer will do for you and in a more timely manner. The local bar has been trying to get legislation to give them monopoly status on many functions. Argue the point. It is not legal that they do this. You can do your own legal work in Belize, despite what may seem obstructionism from places like the Registry. Most of the time, you only need a copy of somebody elses forms and re-write them to suit your own situation. You will undoubtedly do a better job. This is very true in Land Conveyances, the record of lawyers is terrible, the English writing atrocious. Sue the Registry if they will not accept your documents without a lawyer. Time is your most precious commodity and TIME is what the piratical lawyers extend, to squeeze money out of you with excuses. There are a few good lawyers, but I don't know any personally.

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