Since before the Second World War Andorra’s economy has been closed to foreigners. Therefore, there are only a few international businesses settled in the country. With the new Foreign Direct Investment Law issued in June 2012 Andorra now has opened its borders to encourage Foreign Direct Investment. The country has a good infrastructure, fibre-optic Internet service throughout the whole country and a well-educated workforce that basically speaks four languages (Catalan, Spanish, French and English).
Andorra is not a member of the European Union, nevertheless it uses the euro and the country enjoys a special status within the EU. It is treated as an EU member state for trade in manufactured goods, but not for agricultural products.
For a long time Andorra had the status of a tax haven. This means that certain taxes are extremely low or don’t even exist. In January 2012, a business tax of 10% was introduced, a year later a sales tax of 2%. The government is planning to introduce more taxes in the next few years. However, the tax system is quite competitive in comparison with others in the EU. There is not even a personal taxation on residents.
There are two types of limited companies:
- Societat Limitada: small family business enterprises with a minimum capital requirement of €6,000.
- Societat Anònima: companies with multiple shareholders and a minimum capital requirement of 60 000€.
There is no concept of a Public Limited Company (PLC) in Andorran law so far.
Since Andorra is the sixth smallest nation in Europe, space is limited and expensive. Only 8% of Andorra’s land is suitable for construction. Natural resources are limited as well. They include for example hydroelectric power, mineral water, timber, iron ore and lead. Due to that, the Andorran economy is based on the tourism and its banking sector.
The biggest growth prospects are expected in the following sectors:
- Online sales and marketing
- Multilingual call and service centres.
- International arbitrage and consultancy
- Intellectual property design and licensing
- Professional services
- International franchising
- Research and development
Every legal resident according to Andorran Law is allowed to set up a business. The following three steps have to be taken:
- Reservation at the Comú (township) of the trading name, which has to be unique and in Catalan.
- Everyone who would like to do business in Andorra, needs a Commune Authorisation from the commune in which the business is established.
- Additionally, you will have to obtain a Government Authorisation by the Registry of Trade and Industry.
Documents you will need for the registration process:
- A police-legalised birth certificate
- A legalised copy of your passport
- A draft of the statutes of the new company
- A Certificate of Incorporation, which includes the name of the company
- A business plan including a strategy and financial forecasts
You can find more detailed information on doing business in Andorra at Andorra Development and Invest or at Andorra Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services.