Getting Started

Exporting to Luxembourg

After the success of the Obama Administration’s National Export Initiative (NEI), launched in 2010, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker announced they would continue their efforts by launching NEI/NEXT: “a new customer service-driven strategy with improved information resources that will ensure American businesses are fully able to capitalize on expanded opportunities to sell their goods and services abroad”. Read more about NEI/NEXT on their website.

The United States and Luxembourg historically work in tandem on almost every major U.S. foreign policy priority, including and importantly on business and trade issues. While Luxembourg represents a small market of about half a million people, it counts as a “high-value” market purchasing valuable American exports such as Boeing commercial aircraft, information and communications technology equipment but also services and intellectual property such as medical research and entertainment. Luxembourg has one of the most open and competitive economies in the world and is a strong development center for business, research and technology.

  • As a world financial center, Luxembourg is an important partner on the tracking of terrorist financing and money laundering and has cooperated on an updated bilateral tax treaty and bank information-sharing agreements with the U.S. There are many U.S. financial service firms taking advantage of the UCITS framework (cross-border investment fund vehicles) fostered by Luxembourg and enhanced by a significant base of support services such as legal, audit and advisory.
  • As a European Union (EU) co-capital with Brussels (Belgium) and Strasbourg (France), Luxembourg hosts key EU institutions including the European Investment Bank, the European Investment Fund, the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Auditors, as well as the EU Publications and Translations services. Therefore Luxembourg hosts the major European decision-makers on a regular basis and offers a prime base to establish an EU central headquarters operation. Luxembourg will be hosting the E.U. Presidency beginning July 1st, 2015.
  • Luxembourg has been focused for the past several years on diversifying its economy (as financial services still represent over one-third of GDP) by developing niche sectors that are future-driven, such as logistics – building on the extensive historic cargo transport infrastructure with Cargolux, the national all-cargo airline which leads the European air-freight sector, and the Luxair Cargo Center at Findel Airport – and technology, with the expansion of fiber-optic high-speed broadband networks across the country and the opening of datacenters providing state-of-the-art platforms for eCommerce internationally.
  • Luxembourg also launched a cutting-edge BioBank in 2008 with the ambition to become a European hub for biomedical research. Several renowned American biotechnology institutions are collaborating in this venture.

A prime commercial function of the U.S. Embassy in Luxembourg is to reach out to American enterprises of all sizes – large, medium and small – to offer advocacy assistance on business issues or help overcome challenges they may be facing. There are over 100 U.S. companies presently operating in the Grand Duchy. In line with the priority of the United States to increase exports, Luxembourg should be viewed as an attractive destination for U.S. investment and business expansion. Its success can be attributed to a succession of positive, long-term and pragmatic government policies aiming to enhance business and diversify the country’s economy. American direct investment in Luxembourg is substantial, with many billions of dollars invested in the funds sector alone, which represents the world’s second-largest asset domicile (USD 2 trillion) after the U.S.

Getting Started

Visit the export.gov page on Luxembourg to get an overview of economic conditions and opportunities.  Access the U.S. Commercial Service Market Research Library containing more than 100,000 industry and country-specific market reports, authored by our specialists working in overseas posts.

Contact your local U.S. Export Assistance Center for advice and support on exporting to Luxembourg: contact a Trade Specialist near you (http://export.gov/eac/index.asp).

Contact your local Small Business Development Center (SBDCs). Starting a business can be a challenge, but there is help for you in your area. Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are partnerships primarily between the government and colleges/universities administered by the Small Business Administration and aim at giving educational services for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Contact in-country business support organizations such as the American Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg.

“Brochure on HQ” (PDF 3.2 MB) (English version) (for tips on setting up a headquarter office in Luxembourg, please consult the attached document…) (from the Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade).

Investing in Luxembourg

This section provides information for current and potential investors in Luxembourg.

Potential investors: Getting Started

If you are considering investment in Luxembourg, here are some steps you may wish to consider as you get started:

Working in Luxembourg

The best local documentation for learning how to work in Luxembourg and get familiar with employment regulations is “Working in Luxembourg” published by the American Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg.

For information about visiting and/or working in Luxembourg, visit the Luxembourg Embassy in Washington D.C. website.

FCPA

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is an important anti-corruption tool designed to discourage corrupt business practices in favor of free and fair markets. The FCPA prohibits promising, offering, giving or authorizing giving anything of value to a foreign government official where the purpose is to obtain or retain business. These prohibitions apply to U.S. persons, both individuals and companies, and companies that are listed on U.S. exchanges. The statute also requires companies publicly traded in the U.S. to keep accurate books and records and implement appropriate internal controls.

More information on the FCPA can be found here: http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa/

A party to a transaction seeking to know whether a proposed course of conduct would violate the FCPA can take advantage of the opinion procedure established by the statue. Within 30 days of receiving a description of a proposed course of conduct in writing, the Attorney General will provide the party with a written opinion on whether the proposed conduct would violate the FCPA.  Not only do opinions provide the requesting party with a rebuttable presumption that the conduct does not violate the FCPA, but DOJ publishes past opinions which can provide guidance for other companies facing similar situations.

More information on the DOJ opinion procedure can be found here: http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa/docs/frgncrpt.pdf (PDF 28 KB)