The Belgian market


It’s tempting to think that because Belgium is so close to France, the two countries are comparable or even similar. But nothing could be further from the truth. Identifying opportunities and making inroads into the Belgian market require patience and perseverance. Cornering this market takes time.

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Economically, Belgium is extremely vibrant. Its market is highly accessible and outward-looking, making Belgium the natural choice for the headquarters or permanent secretariat of more than 1000 government or private international organisations (SHAPE, NATO and Benelux, for example).
Brussels is the headquarters of EU bodies, which gives it a very international character.

The country’s international appeal comes from its proximity to international decision-making centres, a highly developed logistics infrastructure, its multilingualism and the flexibility of its workforce.

The country ranks 13th in the world for product exports and 12th in the world for service exports.

It has multiple export sectors, which in 2014 generated revenue of more than €353 billion. These sectors include chemicals, food, biotechnology, cars, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, transport and logistics, energy and the environment, and waste management and recycling.

Belgium is France’s second biggest customer and third biggest supplier

In 2014 French exports to Belgium totalled €31.1 billion, making France the country’s third biggest supplier. This figure is similar in magnitude to France’s exports to North America (€30.3 billion), the BRIC countries (€29.9 billion) and Africa (€27.5 billion).

France mainly supplies Belgium with industrial products (pharmaceuticals, chemicals and base metals, which together account for almost 46% of Belgium’s total purchases), food products (15%), transport equipment (13.5%) and mechanical, electrical, electronic and IT equipment (just under 10%).

Last year, French imports of Belgian products amounted to €39.8 billion or 13.8% of its total European imports.

France is Europe’s largest recipient of Belgian investment.