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Supporting your business in times of coronavirus/COVID-19

Many companies are under pressure due to current strict measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus/COVID-19. All of us will be living and working differently in the coming weeks. However, Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) remains on standby from a distance, because our activities and mission literally know no boundaries.

Wherever in the world you are active or located, you can always count on FIT to help, maximize the continuity of your business in these trying times. In addition, because long-term thinking is a must as well, we at FIT also stand ready to help you develop your international ambitions of tomorrow.
 

Message from Claire Tillekaerts, CEO Flanders Investment & Trade: 

“Like you, I'm very concerned about the coronavirus crisis. Every day, we witness so much human suffering and economic havoc. Our healthcare industry and many other sectors go to great lengths to provide the best services for everyone.

FIT is also shifting up a gear, as many companies are also coming under pressure due to sick leave, travel restrictions and quarantine measures.

The impact is already visible. Consumption is decreasing worldwide. Production is slowing down. Logistics and transport are severely disrupted. And the peak is yet to come ...

Our operations have also been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Just think of the many cancelled or postponed trade fairs and trade missions.

Nevertheless, we stand ready to get your company back on the path of export and internationalization as soon as this crisis is over. To achieve this, we rely on our greatest strength: 325 colleagues in Flanders and abroad, who together closely monitor the situation in more than 70 countries.

They are available non-stop to help maintain your local and international contacts and identify new opportunities, to guide you through the available support measures, and to continue to develop your international ambitions.

In addition to the need to tackle the most pressing problems, long-term thinking is crucial as well. Together, let’s keep the world of export and international business going. That way, we can sustain our economy and thus continue to guarantee our prosperity – and our well-being.

Do you have questions or do you need support? Email us, call us – we'll always be there for you.
 

Stay safe!”

Your international business, our concern

The impact of the global COVID-19 crisis can already be felt. Travel restrictions and quarantine measures are reducing consumption, slowing down production and seriously disrupting logistics chains everywhere. In addition, countless trade fairs and business trips have been postponed and cancelled, resulting in missed business connections and – thus – missed opportunities, contracts, partnerships and more.

Our entire FIT team is ready to assist you in minimizing the impact of the coronavirus crisis on your company. This is what we can do for you:

  • Protect your market share. We help you maintain and activate your existing international (customer) contacts, find new prospects and business partners, review your goods transport and logistics flows, and so on.  
  • Explore market diversification. We examine which new markets you can tap into and how. After all, diversifying your market presence remains essential in enabling you to spread your business risks optimally.
  • Monitor the situation. We closely monitor current events surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak and map out the impact on your sector and activities. Based on this analysis, we provide you with insights to make your internationalization strategy future-proof.
  • Guide you through support measures. We inform you about the subsidies and support measures offered by the government of Flanders and the federal government. In addition, we can provide you with information about financial incentives extended by other governments worldwide.

How we stand ready to assist you

  • 70+ markets. In addition to our headquarters in Brussels and our 5 provincial offices in Flanders, we have more than 70 satellite offices that operate on a global scale – from Australia to Zimbabwe. They can provide you with the necessary contact details, knowledge and information to support your business locally.
  • 325 colleagues. Our local and international teams of, among others, Economic Representatives (VLEVs), International Business Advisors (AIOs) and account managers continue to work, from a safe distance, during the current crisis. All our employees can be reached by mail, telephone, e-conference ...
  • 1 central hotline. Via the email address exportadvies-corona@fitagency.be, all your questions about the impact of COVID-19 on your export business are redirected to the designated FIT expert.
  • 1 global dossier. At www.exportadvies-corona.be, we update our online ‘Coronavirus’ dossier on a daily basis, providing up-to-date advice, practical information about specific measures in diverse countries, overviews of cancelled events, useful links and more. Need this information in English? Reach out to us!

Dedicated support for foreign investors in Flanders

In addition to Flanders-based companies, FIT also supports foreign investors who have (recently) started an activity in Flanders or who are planning to do so in the future. To receive practical advice and tailored guidance, these companies can reach out to their regular account manager at FIT or contact the entire Invest team via invest@fitagency.be.

Various measures are available in Flanders to help foreign companies fight the business impact of COVID-19. A structured overview of the measures and what they entail can be found on our website.

Ask us anything!

Our experts will answer all your questions about international business in these challenging times. Please contact us for more information or support. Alternatively, ask us your most pressing questions about exporting in times of COVID-19 via our central hotline.

2 April 2020