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Belgian economy at a glance

  Year 2013
Export (billion €) 353.5
Export world ranking (goods) 12
Import (billion €) 339.4
Import world ranking (goods) 13
GDP (billion €) 369
GDP world ranking 25
GDP growth (%) 0.2
% export to EU 70
Inflation (%) 1.2
Unemployment (%) 8.4
Public debt (% of GDP) 101.2

Source: National Accounts Institute, WTO, IMF


A few facts about Belgium (Source: FPS Economy, SMEs, Self-employed and Energy)

  • Belgium: 31,000 km²; Population: 11 million
  • Situated at the heart of Western Europe, Belgium is one of the six founding countries of the European Union
  • Brussels, its capital, is home to a large number of European and international institutions
  • Belgium is one of the richest countries in Europe and is on an equal footing with Germany: the GDP per inhabitant, expressed in purchasing power parity and compared to the European average (EU-28) of 100, was 119 in 2013
  • The Belgian economy's openness is visible mainly through its integration into the European Union
  • The Belgian economy, as any modern industrialized economy, is characterized by the growing importance of services
  • However, the manufacturing industry is still key to the Belgian economy
  • It is a quintessential “small open economy”: Small, with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of €395 billion (current prices) in 2013, representing 3% of the total GDP of the European Union’s 28 countries


Belgium’s Main Economic Sector’s (Source: National Accounts Institute)

  • Chemical and plastics industry (15% and 7.8% of the total of the manufacturing industry’s added value)
  • Metallurgy and metalworking (18.5%)
  • Food industries (10.9%)
  • Pharmaceutical products  (13.1%)
  • Paper and cardboard industry, publishing and printing (5.7%)
  • Machinery and equipment (7.6%)
  • The manufacture of transport equipment (7%)


Breakdown of the Belgian Industry in 2013 (Source: National Accounts Institute)

Breakdown of the Belgian Industry in 2013


Competitiveness (Source: FPS Economy, SMEs, Self-employed and Energy)

  • Belgium ranks among the top 20 most competitive nations in the world, according to the World Economic Forum classification.
  • On the basis of the “EY's attractiveness survey Europe 2014” (Ernst & Young, 2014), Belgium is among the top 10 of most attractive countries for investment: “With their low risk and sustainable profitability profiles, the UK, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands have all confirmed their reputations as relative safe havens for FDI, maintaining investors’ confidence in the midst of the crisis”.