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EU Country for Import/Export (Physical Commodity) Setup


New member
Jul 19, 2022
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Hello - I am resident in France and I own a local LLC here (SAS). I now want this SAS to own (with other foreign partners) a company that will do some very niche physical commodity trading - essentially it's an import/export business but with commoditized products. I (or my SAS rather) will be the majority shareholder and if possible the corporate director.

I was considering setting up another SAS or SARL in France, but as this is Import/Export, I will need to rely quite a bit on decent trade finance solutions and so I need access to quality banking. In France the banks are only interested in commodity trading businesses that bring in certain volumes. I believe I should be able to get to these volumes within a year or two, but certainly not when starting up. So I have a bit of a Catch-22

So now I am looking for an EU country to set up. I am not concerned with privacy, nor tax rates nor if the seat of management will be France etc. I am really looking for a jurisdiction with open minded banking facilities and fairly inexpensive place to start up and operate.

I guess the question is more perhaps on identifying a suitable bank first and then work backwards to find a jurisdiction to incorporate. It needs to be somewhere in the EU though due to VAT and Customs clearance etc.

Cyprus isn't a solution for me mainly due to banking and operating costs. France is probably the lowest cost place for me to operate, but banking is not appropriate in my current situation. I cannot use any EMI and need access to a proper prime banking solution.

I have the Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland on my shortlist, but I have concerns that the banks may not be receptive to a non-resident corporate director. Belgium seems to have more flexible banking, but overall it is not such an attractive place to do business otherwise. Just to add to some context, the overwhelming majority of the goods that I will be handling will be leaving the EU from the port of Rotterdam or potentially Antwerp. This means my key logistics partners will mostly be NL or BE based and much of the money flow that I will be dealing with will be towards such partners.

Would anyone have any advice - especially if there are other import/export traders here that use trade finance instruments?

Thanks in Advance