Economic activity areas (zone d'activité économique - ZAE) are developed with the aim to facilitate the creation of businesses on the national territory by providing them with plots of land or buildings adapted to their needs (buildings vacated following a cessation of another business).
Any business wishing to set up in an economic activity area (e.g. craft, commercial or manufacturing businesses) must submit their investment project to either:
- the Ministry of the Economy (for any ZAE of a national nature);
- or the association of communes concerned (for any ZAE of a regional nature);
- or the commune concerned (for any ZAE of a communal nature).
The activities eligible for a given ZAE may vary depending on the type of activity area:
- national ZAEs will only accept new industrial activities;
- regional ZAEs are open to craft activities or light new industrial activities and the return of existing activities (possibly commercial activities provided they are an ancillary activity directly related to the main activity);
- communal ZAEs are open to economic activities which are defined by the commune concerned.
Interested businesses must verify whether their project is eligible for the economic activity area concerned.
As a next phase, the business should check that their planned activity (e.g. office work, joinery, warehousing) is compliant with those stated in the general development plan (PAG) and the special development plan (PAP) for the area concerned.
If necessary, the business must submit a special development plan for their project.
The business must also apply to the competent authorities for an operating permit for classified establishments which may be needed for the planned activity and/or the related technical equipment including a building permit, where necessary.
Operations can only begin after all the necessary authorisations have been received.
Submitting the application
Each application for eligibility must be accompanied by the following documents:
- a general description of the project (type of activity, number of projected jobs, organisation of work, etc.);
- the authorisations required for the type of activity (e.g. operating permit for classified establishments);
- the balance sheet and profit and loss accounts for the last 3 years;
- a non liability certificate from the Joint Social Security Centre (Centre commun de la sécurité sociale - CCSS);
- a certificate of compliance with respect to VAT obligations and liability from the Indirect Tax Authority (Administration de l'Enregistrement et des domaines);
- a non liability certificate from the Luxembourg Inland Revenue (Administration des contributions directes - ACD), issued on simple request by the competent tax office of the ACD;
- the business permit.
There is no legal deadline concerning the application for eligibility as it mainly depends on the project size and the possible negotiations between the parties involved.
National economic activity areas
Economic areas of activity which are national in nature are fully equipped reception facilities specifically adapted to industrial manufacturing businesses and made available to the businesses in the form of surface rights against payment of a fee to cover for the infrastructure costs.
They are generally reserved for industrial manufacturing businesses whose establishment will ensure the creation of new activities (no other similar project must exist in Luxembourg).
Their activities must contribute to the diversification of the economic structure in the country and not cause any distortion in competition with other businesses who did not benefit from the same conditions of establishment.
Regional economic activity areas
Economic activity areas which are regional in nature are public infrastructures made available to businesses in the form of surface rights against payment of a fee to cover for the infrastructure costs.
They welcome craft activities and or light industrial activities including the return of existing activities.
Applications for a plot of land in these areas must be sent to the association of communes which manages the area by using the application for establishment form available from the competent association.
The business will be called to a meeting where it can present its project to the representatives of the association of communes and the Ministry of the Economy who will decide on the eligibility of the business.
If an outline consent is given after the meeting, the business has to submit its project to the Infrastructure Directorate at the Ministry of the Economy for financial analysis purposes.
Communal economic activity areas
Economic activity areas which are communal in nature are public infrastructures made available to businesses in the form of surface rights against payment of a fee to cover for the infrastructure costs.
The eligible activities and the terms for setting up in a communal ZAE are defined by the commune concerned.
Interested businesses should contact the commune directly.
Any business planning to establish itself in an economic activity area must comply with the conditions stated in the general development plan and the special development plan for the area concerned (e.g. number of parking spaces, size of the building, etc.).
Moreover, in the event the area falls under specific authorisation orders, the future operator must ensure he complies with its rules (e.g. waste management, area specific rules, connection to the water retention reservoir, where applicable).
A business which intends to cease operation in the ZAE must follow the proper procedure with regard to a cessation of activity.
Validity period and fees
The business has to pay a lump sum at the beginning of their activity and also an annual fee. The amount of these fees is set according to the geographic location of the project and the type of economic activity area concerned.
The plot of land is granted for a period of 30 years.