Belize: Offshore Business Sectors
Export Processing Zones (EPZ)
Three locations have been designated as EPZs under the Export Processing Zone Act. The San Andres EPZ occupies 28.5 acres of land in the northern section of the country, only 8 miles away from the Mexican border and hence right next door to NAFTA. The other two zones are both approximately 9 miles from Belize City, the country's commercial capital. The EPZ adjacent to the Philip Goldson International Airport covers 4 acres, while Price Barracks EPZ covers 14 acres.
In the EPZs, facilities are provided for activities in manufacturing, processing, packaging, warehousing and the distribution of goods and services. In fact, amendments made to the legislation in 1994 provide investors with the added option of building their own facilities and developing infrastructure within an EPZ, including independent utility installations. This option enables an EPZ to enhance its economic development, since it does not necessarily have to use the electricity or telephone facilities provided by the two local monopolies, Belize Electricity Ltd and Belize Telemedia Ltd.
Other benefits of locating in the EPZs include full import and export duty exemptions; exemptions from taxes levied on capital gains, property, land, excise, sales, consumption, trade turnover, foreign exchange and transfers. There are also tax holidays of 20 years with an option to extend and deduct loses from profits following the tax holiday period and dividend tax exemption in perpetuity. As of April 2010, a social fee of 5% is charged on all goods and services imported into an EPZ.