Free Zones & Incentives Advisor


Key focus of the expertise of Laurens concerns the development and implementation of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) promotion & attraction strategies, incentives regimes, and economic development policies for Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs), Economic Development Organisations (EDOs) and Free Zones as well as support on site selection and incentives practices for multinational enterprises. Laurens also provides trainings and seminars to support IPAs, EDOs and other organizations with capacity building and skills development.

Among its corporate engagements, Laurens has worked on a site selection project for a US Fortune Global 500 company, thereby supporting the implementation of a new real estate business model. As a project leader, he organised site visits with local teams, evaluated potential real estate portfolios and presented a shortlist to the client throughout a wide range of US states. Other corporate experiences include assisting SPGPrints, Appnovation Technologies, Corbion Purac, Appvion, Pitney Bowes and Federal Mogul in optimising their global and European incentives strategies as part of their site selection processes as well as negotiating their incentive potential.

Apart from supporting corporate clients, Laurens has been engaged in numerous IPAs, EDOs and throughout the world (e.g. IPAs, EDOs and Free Zones). His project experience in this field includes developing tailor-made incentives policies and SEZ recommendations for Namibia Investment Centre (NIC) and Offshore Development Company (ODC), studies on regional integration and incentives frameworks for Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) and Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA), studies on agricultural incentives and FDI for the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (COMCEC) and analysing incentives in high-risk investment environments for the UK Department of International Development (DFID). For the British Crown Dependency of Jersey, Laurens prepared an in-depth study on the role International Financial Centers (IFCs) play in terms of attracting and redistributing FDI and its implications for economic development worldwide. Laurens also provided input on regional harmonisation of incentive regimes during the presentation of the Regional NGO Master Plan for Sustainable Development in the Jordan River Valley at the Dead Sea (Jordan) Conference. Finally, Laurens has supported various Governments, IPAs and EDOs on improving the attractiveness of their business environment and incentives proposition. Such clients include the Ministry of Economic Development of Curaçao, Finpro (IPA of Finland), Invest in Guatemala, Jersey Finance Limited (IPA of Channel Island Jersey), State of Maine (US), and Ministry of Economy of the UAE.

Recently, as part of collaboration between ICA and Dubai-based World Free Zones Organization (World FZO), Laurens has worked in Dubai supporting the establishment of World FZO’s knowledge unit and conducting research on incentives provided across Free Zones and the attraction of FDI into Free Zones, thereby contributing to the world’s most comprehensive knowledge base on Free Zones and incentive practices. Laurens also developed a software tool which allows to rank, evaluate and benchmark the competitiveness of Free Zones.

Laurens has worked in many countries including the EU-28, the Channel Islands, the Middle East (Jordan, Palestine Authority and the United Arab Emirates), Central Asia (Azerbaijan, Georgia and Kazakhstan), South Asia.

(Bangladesh), Central America (Costa Rica, Curaçao, Nicaragua and Panama), Latin America (Uruguay) and the United States. Laurens has advised numerous governments, IPAs, EDOs and Free Zone authorities in Latin America & the Caribbean, North America, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Central Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia as well as various international/multilateral organizations, including UNCTAD, UN-ESCAP, World FZO, World Bank/IFC and OECD.