Economic section

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Belgian economy at a glance

A summary of the Belgian economy.
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Year 2022

Export (billion €) 524
Export world ranking (goods) 8
Import (billion €) 537
Import world ranking (goods) 13
GDP (billion €) 549
GDP world ranking 23
GDP growth (%) 3.1
% export to EU 65
Inflation (%) 2.4
Unemployment (%) 6.3
Public debt (% of GDP) 105.3

Source: World Bank, WTO, European Union, IMF, OEC, Statbel

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

  • Belgium: 31,000 km²; Population: 11.6 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-27) of 100, was 120 in 2022
  • 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 €549 billion (current prices) in 2022, representing 3.5%  of the total GDP of the European Union’s 27 countries

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

The core sectors of the Belgian industry are:

  • the pharmaceutical industry (20.4%)
  • the food and beverage industry (15.3%)
  • the chemical industry (15%)
  • the manufacture of basic metals and fabricated metal products (11%)
  • the manufacture of rubber and plastic products (8.6%)
  • the manufacture of furniture and repair and installation of machinery and equipment (5.9%)
  • the manufacture of machinery and equipment (5.8%)

Breakdown of the Belgian Industry in 2020

Breakdown of the Belgian Industry in 2020

Source: National Accounts Institute

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

  • Belgium ranks 21st among the most competitive nations in the world, according to the International Institute for Management Development classification.
  • On the basis of the “EY's attractiveness survey Europe 2023”, Belgium remains among the top 10 of most attractive European countries for investment.