- Belgium is one of the highest per capita exporters in the world, with exporting accounting for 70% of their GDP.
- Belgium is a center house for trade in Western Europe, as almost 75% of their trade is done with other European Union countries.
- Reportedly importing $11.2 billion in 1998 from the U.S., Belgium resides as the United Statesí ninth largest trading partner. The majority of Belgiumís imports are basic or intermediate goods. Once imported, Belgium adds value to these goods and re-exports a final product.
- Another key factor of Belgiumís success is itís geographic location in relation to its trading partners.
- It is important to know that Belgiumís capital, Brussels, serves as the headquarters of the European Union and NATO. Hundreds of international & multinational corporations also make their home in Brussels.
- In addition, Belgium boasts of an excellent transportation infrastructure and a highly skilled and bilingual workforce.
- Belgium, as part of the European Union, uses the euro as its currency. However, it will not begin circulation until January 1, 2002. Until then, Belgium will continue to use the Belgium franc as their currency.
Opportunities and Strategic Tips:
Source: National Trade Data Base
- Belgium is a close ally of the United States and works with the U.S. on many international issues. Export relations are good between the two countries as 5% of Belgiumís imports come from the United States. However, it is important to recognize that Belgium is a part of the European Union and as such must abide by the European Unionís rules and regulations.
- The French and the Germans often look upon Belgium as a neutral source of goods. Therefore, Belgium is a great source to use as a distributor.
- As a United States exporter, it is advised that your productís quoted price include the Cost of Insurance Freight. This will allow your product to remain competitive with European Union supplier prices. It is also important to realize that although the United Statesí products are well regarded, they are still in competition with products supplied by other countries, and therefore cannot command a higher price simply because they are U.S. imports.
- The Belgium market is highly competitive due to Belgiumís status as a country of entry for many imports destined throughout Europe.
- Currently, the largest market for the United Statesí imports into Belgium is in automotive parts, which was estimated at $967 million in 1999.
- The second largest import (not including travel and tourism) is computer software estimated at $795 million in 1999.
- I would recommend exporting to Belgium, specifically products that are in base or intermediate form. Nearly half of Belgiumís imports have value added to them before they are re-exported to other countries. This could be a determining factor as to why 70% of Belgiumís GDP consists of the service sector.