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Thursday, Nov. 10, 2005

'68 tax treaty needs revision: Belgian leader


Staff writer

Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt on Wednesday proposed that Tokyo and Brussels revise their tax treaty to boost Japanese investment in Belgium.

News photo
Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt is greeted by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at his official residence in Tokyo.

"I would like to revise the tax treaty, which has not been revised since it was established in 1968," Verhofstadt told Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, according to a Foreign Ministry official.

The Belgian prime minister did not elaborate on which sections he hopes to revise.

Koizumi said he will ask government officials to discuss the issue with their Belgium counterparts, the official said.

Verhofstadt was in Tokyo on a two-day trip that started Tuesday to explain Brussels' revised tax system to businesses here, hoping to increase Japanese investment in Belgium.

The tax treaty is aimed at preventing the double taxation of Japanese and Belgian companies investing or doing business in the other nation.

The treaty also limits taxation on investments and gives exemptions for certain business activities, a Foreign Ministry official said.

It is unclear if Japan would agree to treaty revisions as Belgium has not specified the changes it wants to make.

Japan is currently revising its tax treaties with a number of nations, including Britain, and the list is still growing.

Verhofstadt also expressed hope that direct flights would be set up between Japan and Belgium, where about 200 Japanese firms have offices, the official told reporters.

Koizumi said arranging the flights was up to airlines, by added they should consider flying into Kansai International Airport because Narita airport is at capacity.



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