Economy of Belgium

The modern, private enterprise economy of Belgium has capitalised on its central geographic location, highly developed transport network, and diversified industrial and commercial base. The first country to undergo an industrial revolution on the continent of Europe in the early 19th century, Belgium developed an excellent transportation infrastructure of ports, canals, railways, and highways to integrate its industry with that of its neighbors.[11] Industry is concentrated mainly in the populous Flanders in the north, around Brussels and in the two biggest Walloon cities, Liège and Charleroi, along the sillon industriel. Belgium imports raw materials and semi-finished goods that are further processed and re-exported. Except for its coal, which is no longer economical to exploit, Belgium has few natural resources other than fertile soils. Nonetheless, most traditional industrial sectors are represented in the economy, including steel, textiles, refining, chemicals, food processing, pharmaceuticals, automobiles, electronics, and machinery fabrication. Despite the heavy industrial component, services account for 74.9% of GDP, while agriculture accounts for only 1% of GDP.[11]

With exports equivalent to over two-thirds of GNP, Belgium depends heavily on world trade. Belgium's trade advantages are derived from its central geographic location and a highly skilled, multilingual, and productive work force. One of the founding members of the European Community, Belgium strongly supports deepening the powers of the present-day European Union to integrate European economies further.[11] About three-quarters of its trade is with other EU countries. Together with the Netherlands and Luxembourg, Belgium is also one of Benelux member states.

Belgium's public debt is about 105% of GDP.[12] The government succeeded in balancing its budget during the 2000–2008 period, and income distribution is relatively equal. Belgium began circulating the euro currency in January 2002. Economic growth and foreign direct investment dropped in 2008. In 2009 Belgium suffered negative growth and increased unemployment, stemming from the worldwide banking crisis.[12]

Economy of Belgium
North Galaxy Towers-Schaerbeek-001
Business district in Schaerbeek neighborhood of Brussels
CurrencyEuro
Calendar year
Trade organisations
EU, WTO and OECD
Statistics
GDPIncrease $533.153 billion (nominal, 2018 est.)[1]
Increase $550.501 billion (PPP, 2018 est.)[1]
GDP rank23rd (nominal, 2018)
37th (PPP, 2018)
GDP growth
1.4% (2016) 1.6% (2017)
1.4% (2018e) 1.2% (2019e)[1]
GDP per capita
Increase $46,724 (nominal, 2018 est.)[1]
Increase $48,244 (PPP, 2018 est.)[1]
GDP per capita rank
17th (nominal, 2018)
22nd (PPP, 2018)
GDP by sector
agriculture: 0.7%
industry: 22.1%
services: 77.2% (2017 est.)[2]
2.311% (2018 est.)[1]
Population below poverty line
Positive decrease 20.3% at risk of poverty or social exclusion (2017)[3]
Positive decrease 26.0 low (2017)[4]
Labour force
5.324 million (2017 est.)[2]
Labour force by occupation
agriculture: 1.3%
industry: 18.6%
services: 80.1% (2013 est.)[2]
UnemploymentPositive decrease 6.0% (2018)[5]
Average gross salary
€3,261, monthly (2015)[6]
€2,068, monthly (2015)[7]
Main industries
engineering and metal products, motor vehicle assembly, transportation equipment, scientific instruments, processed food and beverages, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, base metals, textiles, glass, petroleum
52nd (2018)[8]
External
ExportsIncrease $300.8 billion (2017 est.)[2]
Export goods
chemicals, machinery and equipment, finished diamonds, metals and metal products, foodstuffs
Main export partners
 Germany 16.6%
 France 14.9%
 Netherlands 12%
 United Kingdom 8.4%
 Italy 4.9%
 United States 4.8% (2017)[2]
ImportsIncrease $300.4 billion (2017 est.)[2]
Import goods
raw materials, machinery and equipment, chemicals, raw diamonds, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, transportation equipment, oil products
Main import partners
 Netherlands 17.3%
 Germany 13.8%
 France 9.5%
 United States 7.1%
 United Kingdom 4.9%
 Ireland 4.2%
 China 4.1% (2017)[2]
FDI stock
Decrease $1.035 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)[2]
Increase Abroad: $1.159 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)[2]
Decrease -$807 million (2017 est.)[2]
Negative increase $1.281 trillion (31 March 2016 est.)[2]
Public finances
Positive decrease 103.4% of GDP (2017 est.)[2][note 1]
-1% (of GDP) (2017 est.)[2]
Revenues253.5 billion (2017 est.)[2]
Expenses258.6 billion (2017 est.)[2]
Economic aid$1.978bn (2006)
AA (Domestic)
AA (Foreign)
AAA (T&C Assessment)
(Standard & Poor's)[9] Scope:[10]
AA
Outlook: Stable
Foreign reserves
Increase $26.16 billion (31 December 2017 est.)[2]
Main data source: CIA World Fact Book
All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars.

History

In the twentieth century

Evolution of Belgian GDP
Evolution of the Belgian GDP

For 50 years through World War II, French-speaking Wallonia was a technically advanced, industrial region, with its industry concentrated along the sillon industriel, while Dutch-speaking Flanders was predominantly agricultural with some industry, mainly processing agricultural products and textiles. This disparity began to fade during the interwar period. When Belgium emerged from World War II with its industrial infrastructure relatively undamaged thanks to the Galopin doctrine, the stage was set for a period of rapid development, particularly in Flanders. The postwar boom years, enhanced by the establishment of the European Union and NATO headquarters in Brussels, contributed to the rapid expansion of light industry throughout most of Flanders, particularly along a corridor stretching between Brussels and Antwerp, which is the second largest port in Europe after Rotterdam.[11]

Foreign investment contributed significantly to Belgian economic growth in the 1960s. In particular, U.S. firms played a leading role in the expansion of light industrial and petrochemical industries in the 1960s and 1970s.[11]

The older, traditional industries of Wallonia, particularly steel industry, began to lose their competitive edge during this period, but the general growth of world prosperity masked this deterioration until the 1973 and 1979 oil price shocks and resultant shifts in international demand sent the economy into a period of prolonged recession. In the 1980s and 1990s, the economic center of the country continued to shift northwards to Flanders with investments by multinationals (Automotive industry, Chemical industry) and a growing local Industrial agriculture (textiles, food).

The early 1980s saw the country facing a difficult period of structural adjustment caused by declining demand for its traditional products, deteriorating economic performance, and neglected structural reform. Consequently, the 1980–82 recession shook Belgium to the core—unemployment mounted, social welfare costs increased, personal debt soared, the government deficit climbed to 13% of GDP, and the national debt, although mostly held domestically, mushroomed.

Against this grim backdrop, in 1982, Prime Minister Martens' center-right coalition government formulated an economic recovery program to promote export-led growth by enhancing the competitiveness of Belgium's export industries through an 8.5% devaluation. Economic growth rose from 2% in 1984 to a peak of 4% in 1989. In May 1990, the government linked the Belgian franc to the Deutsche Mark, primarily through closely tracking German interest rates. Consequently, as German interest rates rose after 1990, Belgian rates have increased and contributed to a decline in the economic growth rate. In 1992–93, the Belgian economy suffered the worst recession since World War II, with the real GDP declining 1.7% in 1993.

On 1 May 1998, Belgium became a first-tier member of the European Monetary Union.

In the twenty-first century

Labour productivity levels in Europe. OECD, 2015
The labour productivity level of Belgium is one of highest in Europe. OECD, 2015[13]

Belgium switched from the Belgian franc to the Euro as its currency after 1 January 2002. Belgian per capita GDP ranks among the world's highest. In 2008, the per capita income (PPP) was $37,500. The federal government has managed to present balanced budgets in recent years, but public debt remains high, at 99% of 2009 GDP. GDP growth in 2009 was negative at −1.5%.[11]

Trade

About 80% of Belgium's trade is with fellow EU member states. Given this high percentage, it seeks to diversify and expand trade opportunities with non-EU countries. The Belgian authorities are, as a rule, anti-protectionist and try to maintain a hospitable and open trade and investment climate. The European Commission negotiates on trade issues for all member states, which, in turn lessens bilateral trade disputes with Belgium.[11]

The Belgian Government encourages new foreign investment as a means to promote employment. With regional devolution, Flanders, Brussels, and Wallonia are now courting potential foreign investors and offer a host of incentives and benefits.[11] Foreign companies in Belgium account for approximately 11% of the total work force, with the U.S.

. Attracted by the EU 1992 single-market program, many foreign firms and lawyers have settled in Brussels since 1989.[11]

Employment

The social security system, which expanded rapidly during the prosperous 1950s and 1960s, includes a medical system, unemployment insurance coverage, child allowances, invalid benefits, and other benefits and pensions. With the onset of a recession in the 1970s, this system became an increasing burden on the economy and accounted for much of the government budget deficits. The national unemployment figures mask considerable differences between Flanders and Wallonia. Unemployment in Wallonia is mainly structural, while in Flanders it is cyclical. Flanders' unemployment levels are generally only about half those of Walloon. The southern region continues a difficult transition out of sunset industries (mainly coal and steel), while sunrise industries (chemicals, high-tech, and services) dominate in Flanders.[11]

Belgium's unemployment rate was 6.5% in 2008. A total of 4.99 million people make up Belgium's labor force. The majority of these people (73%) work in the service sector. Belgian industry claims 25% of the labor force and agriculture only 2%. As in other industrialized nations, pension and other social entitlement programs have become a major concern as the baby boom generation approaches retirement.[11]

Budget

Belgische staatsschuld
Evolution of the Belgian public debt as % of Belgian GDP.

Although Belgium is a wealthy country, public expenditures far exceeded income for many years, and taxes were not diligently pursued. The Belgian Government reacted to the 1973 and 1979 oil price hikes by hiring the redundant work force into the public sector and subsidizing industries like coal, steel, textiles, glass, and shipbuilding, which had lost their international competitive edge. As a result, cumulative government debt reached 121% of GDP by the end of the 1980s. However, thanks to Belgium's high personal savings rate, the Belgian Government financed the deficit from mainly domestic savings, minimizing the deleterious effects on the overall economy.[11]

The federal government ran a 7.1% budget deficit in 1992 at the time of the EU's Treaty of Maastricht, which established conditions for Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) that led to adoption of the common Euro currency on 1 January 2002. Among other criteria spelled out under the Maastricht treaty, the Belgian Government had to attain a budget deficit of no greater than 3% of GDP by the end of 1997; Belgium achieved this, with a total budget deficit in 2001 (just prior to implementation of the Euro) that amounted to 0.2% of GDP. The government has balanced the budget every year since, until 2009 where it ran a deficit of about $25 billion. Belgium's accumulated public debt remains high at 99% of 2009 GDP.[11] A slight decrease in the accumulated public debt compared to GDP has been seen, however, thanks to a higher economic growth rate compared to the budget growth rate, which pushed the percentage from 99% of GDP in 2009 to 95% of GDP in 2011, a four-point decrease in two years, a feat rare enough to mention in the Western World.

Regional differences

The economy of Belgium is varied and cannot be understood without taking the regional differences into account. Indeed, Flemish and Walloon economies differ in many respects (consider for instance Eurostats and OECD statistics), and cities like Brussels, Antwerp, Liège, Bruges, Charleroi or Ghent also exhibit significant differences. In general, productivity in Flanders is roughly 20% higher (per inhabitant) than in Wallonia. Brussels' GDP per capita is much higher than either region, although this is in many ways artificial, as many of those that work in the Brussels-Capital Region live in Flanders or Wallonia. Their output is counted in Brussels and not where they live, artificially raising the per capita GDP of Brussels and slightly lowering that of Flanders and Wallonia.

Unemployment has remained consistently more than twice as high in Wallonia than in Flanders, and even more in Brussels, during most of the last 20 years (2012: Flanders: 4.55%; Wallonia: 10.12% and Brussels: 17.47%[14]).

Gross Domestic Product in Belgium (2006)[15]
Rank NUTS region 2006 GDP (PPP)
per capita
in Euros
% of the average GDP
of EU27 in 2006
1 Brussels 55,100 233.3
2 Flemish Region 27,900 118.0
3 Walloon Region 20,100 85.1

Brussels

Being the de facto European capital, its economy is massively service-oriented. It has a number of regional headquarters of multinational corporations. It is also host to a great number of European institutions, in addition to the Belgian federal government, the government of the Flemish Community and the government of the French Community. Brussels also has many commuters, with 230,000 coming from Flanders, and 130,000 from Wallonia. Much of the success of Brussels is based on the high educational skills of its workforce. As of July 2012, however, the statistical unemployment rate in Brussels was 20.6%.[16]

Flanders

Zicht op het Delwaidedok
The Delwaidedok container terminal in the port of Antwerp

The port of Antwerp was in 2004 the second largest European sea port by cargo volume, and the Antwerp freight railway station accounts for one-third of Belgian freight traffic. Antwerp is the first diamond market in the world, diamond exports account for roughly 1/10 of Belgian exports. The Antwerp-based BASF plant is the largest BASF-base outside Germany, and accounts on its own for about 2% of Belgian exports. Other industrial and service activities include car manufacturing, telecommunications, photographic products.

The port of Bruges-Zeebrugge is one of the most important, modern and fastest growing[17] ports in Europe. It is Europe's largest port for RoRo traffic[18] and natural gas.[19] It also is the world's largest port for the import and export of new vehicles.[20] Tourism is also a major component of the economy of Bruges. Due to its pristine medieval city centre, Bruges has become a popular tourist destination. Annually about 2.5 million day tourists visit the city and in 2007 there were about 1.4 million overnight stays.

The port of Ghent, in the north of the city, is the third largest port of Belgium. It is accessed by the Ghent–Terneuzen Canal, which ends near the Dutch port of Terneuzen on the Western Scheldt. The port houses, among others, big companies like ArcelorMittal, Volvo Cars, Volvo Trucks, Volvo Parts, Honda, and Stora Enso. The Ghent University, the second largest university of Belgium by number of students, and a number of research oriented companies are situated in the central and southern part of the city. Tourism is increasingly becoming a major employer in the local area. Begonias have been cultivated in the Ghent area since 1860. Belgium is the world's largest producer of begonias, planting 60 million tubers per year. Eighty percent of the crop is exported.[21]

Wallonia

In the past, Liège was one of the most important steel-making centres in Europe. Starting in 1817, John Cockerill extensively developed the iron and steel industry. The industrial complex of Seraing was the largest in the world. Although now a shadow of its former self, steel production and the manufacture of steel goods remain important.

Liège has also been an important centre for gunsmithing since the Middle ages and the arms industry is still strong with the headquarters of FN Herstal. The economy of the region is now diversified, the most important centers are mechanical industries (aircraft engine and Spacecraft propulsion), space technology, information technology, biotechnology and also production of water, beer or chocolate. Liège Science Park south east of the city, near the University of Liège campus, houses spin-offs and high technology businesses. Liège is also a very important logistic center: the city possesses the third largest river port in Europe, directly connected to Antwerp, Rotterdam and Germany via the Meuse river and the Albert Canal. In 2006 Liège Airport was the 8th most important cargo airport in Europe. A new passenger terminal was opened in 2005. It is also the main hub and the headquarters of TNT Airways.

Charleroi features an industrial area, iron and steel industry, glassworks, chemicals, and electrical engineering. Charleroi is in the center of a vast coal basin, called Pays Noir. Many slag heaps still surround the city. Charleroi is also known for its publishing industry with Dupuis, one of the main publishers of Franco-Belgian comics, located in Marcinelle.

Data

The following table shows the main economic indicators in 1980–2017. Inflation below 2% is in green.[22]

Year GDP
(in Bil. Euro)
GDP per capita
(in Euro)
GDP growth
(real)
Inflation rate
(in Percent)
Unemployment
(in Percent)
Government debt
(in % of GDP)
1980 89.9 9,117 Increase4.4 % Negative increase6.7 % 8.3 % 76.3 %
1981 Increase94.2 Increase9,551 Decrease−0.2 % Negative increase7.6 % Negative increase10.0 % Negative increase89.2 %
1982 Increase101.9 Increase10,345 Increase0.6 % Negative increase8.7 % Negative increase11.5 % Negative increase99.1 %
1983 Increase108.0 Increase10,956 Increase0.3 % Negative increase7.7 % Positive decrease10.7 % Negative increase109.7 %
1984 Increase116.7 Increase11,842 Increase2.5 % Negative increase6.3 % Negative increase10,8 % Negative increase114.0 %
1985 Increase124.1 Increase12,589 Increase1.7 % Negative increase4.9 % Positive decrease10.1 % Negative increase118.7 %
1986 Increase129.9 Increase13,175 Increase1.8 % Increase1.3 % Steady10,1 % Negative increase124.0 %
1987 Increase135.1 Increase13,698 Increase2.3 % Increase1.5 % Positive decrease9.8 % Negative increase128.5 %
1988 Increase144.6 Increase14,640 Increase4.7 % Increase1.6 % Positive decrease8.8 % Negative increase129.0 %
1989 Increase156.8 Increase15,792 Increase3.4 % Negative increase3.1 % Positive decrease7.4 % Positive decrease125.7 %
1990 Increase166.2 Increase16,711 Increase3.1 % Negative increase3.5 % Positive decrease6.6 % Negative increase129.6 %
1991 Increase174.2 Increase17,438 Increase1.8 % Negative increase3.2 % Positive decrease6.5 % Negative increase131.1 %
1992 Increase182.9 Increase18,248 Increase1.5 % Negative increase2.3 % Negative increase7.1 % Negative increase133.9 %
1993 Increase188.3 Increase18,707 Decrease−1.0 % Negative increase2.5 % Negative increase8.6 % Negative increase138.1 %
1994 Increase198.5 Increase19,652 Increase3.2 % Negative increase2.4 % Negative increase9.8 % Positive decrease136.3 %
1995 Increase211.6 Increase20,889 Increase2.4 % Increase1.3 % Positive decrease9.7 % Positive decrease130.5 %
1996 Increase215.9 Increase21,290 Increase1.6 % Increase1.8 % Positive decrease9.6 % Positive decrease128.0 %
1997 Increase226.0 Increase22,218 Increase3.8 % Increase1.5 % Positive decrease9.2 % Positive decrease123.2 %
1998 Increase234.5 Increase23,007 Increase2.0 % Increase0.9 % Negative increase9.3 % Positive decrease118.2 %
1999 Increase244.2 Increase23,911 Increase3.6 % Increase1.1 % Positive decrease8.4 % Positive decrease114.4 %
2000 Increase258.2 Increase25,219 Increase3.6 % Negative increase2.7 % Positive decrease6.9 % Positive decrease108.8 %
2001 Increase265.8 Increase25,896 Increase0.8 % Negative increase2.4 % Positive decrease6.6 % Positive decrease107.6 %
2002 Increase275.1 Increase26,680 Increase1.8 % Negative increase1.5 % Negative increase7.5 % Positive decrease104.7 %
2003 Increase282.6 Increase27,293 Increase0.8 % Increase1.5 % Negative increase8.2 % Positive decrease101.1 %
2004 Increase298.7 Increase28,732 Increase3.6 % Increase1.9 % Negative increase8.4 % Positive decrease96.5 %
2005 Increase311.5 Increase29,819 Increase2.1 % Negative increase2.5 % Positive decrease8.5 % Positive decrease94.7 %
2006 Increase326.7 Increase31,077 Increase2.5 % Negative increase2.3 % Positive decrease8.3 % Positive decrease91.1 %
2007 Increase344.7 Increase32,568 Increase3.4 % Increase1.8 % Positive decrease7.5 % Positive decrease87.0 %
2008 Increase354.1 Increase33,193 Increase0,8 % Negative increase4.5 % Positive decrease7.0 % Negative increase92.5 %
2009 Decrease348.8 Decrease32,435 Decrease−2.3 % Steady0.0 % Negative increase7.9 % Negative increase99.5 %
2010 Increase365.1 Increase33,681 Increase2.7 % Increase2.3 % Negative increase8.3 % Negative increase99.7 %
2011 Increase379.1 Increase34,462 Increase1.8 % Negative increase3.4 % Positive decrease7.2 % Negative increase102.6 %
2012 Increase387.5 Increase34,986 Increase0.2 % Negative increase2.6 % Negative increase7.5 % Negative increase104.3 %
2013 Increase392.3 Increase35,225 Increase0.2 % Increase1.2 % Negative increase8.5 % Negative increase105.5 %
2014 Increase400.3 Increase35,801 Increase1.4 % Increase0.5 % Negative increase8.6 % Negative increase106.8 %
2015 Increase410.4 Increase36,525 Increase1.4 % Increase0.6 % Positive decrease8.5 % Positive decrease106.0 %
2016 Increase423.0 Increase37,401 Increase1.5 % Increase1.8 % Positive decrease7.9 % Positive decrease105.7 %
2017 Increase438.1 Increase38,597 Increase1.7 % Negative increase2.2 % Positive decrease7.2 % Positive decrease103.2 %

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e f "World Economic Outlook Database, April 2019". IMF.org. International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "The World Factbook". CIA.gov. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  3. ^ "People at risk of poverty or social exclusion". ec.europa.eu. Eurostat. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Gini coefficient of equivalised disposable income - EU-SILC survey". ec.europa.eu. Eurostat. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Total unemployment rate". ec.europa.eu. Eurostat. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  6. ^ "Salaires Mensuels Bruts Moyens 2012" (in French). References.be.
  7. ^ http://www.demorgen.be/economie/belg-verdient-netto-gemiddeld-2-068-euro-a2127968/
  8. ^ "Ease of Doing Business in Belgium". Doingbusiness.org. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  9. ^ "Sovereigns rating list". Standard & Poor's. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  10. ^ "Scope confirms and publishes Belgium's credit rating of AA, changes Outlook to Stable". Scope Ratings. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Belgium". US Department of State. April 2010. Retrieved 9 May 2010.
  12. ^ a b "Belgium". CIA World Factbook. April 2010. Archived from the original on 9 July 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2010.
  13. ^ https://data.oecd.org/lprdty/gdp-per-hour-worked.htm#indicator-chart
  14. ^ "Le marché du travail en chiffres absolus". fgov.be. Archived from the original on 17 March 2014. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  15. ^ "GDP per inhabitant in 2006 ranged from 25% of the EU27 average in Nord-Est in Romania to 336% in Inner London". Eurostat.
  16. ^ "Taux de chômage stable (20,6%) mais augmentation du nombre de chercheurs d'emploi sur base annuelle" (PDF). Actiris.be.
  17. ^ "Invest in Flanders". Invest in Flanders. Archived from the original on 31 August 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  18. ^ http://www.portofzeebrugge.com/content.asp?p=146&taal=E. Retrieved 7 August 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. ^ "WINGAS GmbH: Zeebrugge". Wingas.de. Archived from the original on 25 February 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-28.
  20. ^ (PDF) http://www.zeebruggeport.be/E/jaarresultaten2008.pdf. Retrieved 7 August 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  21. ^ [1] Archived 13 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects". www.imf.org. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  1. ^ data cover general government debt and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions; general government debt is defined by the Maastricht definition and calculated by the National Bank of Belgium as consolidated gross debt; the debt is defined in European Regulation EC479/2009 concerning the implementation of the protocol on the excessive deficit procedure annexed to the Treaty on European Union (Treaty of Maastricht) of 7 February 1992; the sub-sectors of consolidated gross debt are: federal government, communities and regions, local government, and social security funds

References

External links

Agriculture in Flanders

Agriculture and horticulture in Flanders has traditionally a familial character, but just like agriculture in other regions, is increasingly characterised by an increase in scale, modernisation and expansion. In Flanders, intensive sectors constitute the largest segment of agriculture: pig breeding, poultry and dairy farming, vegetables and fruit, ornamental plant culture. In Wallonia, the French-speaking part of Belgium, the emphasis is more on arable farming and extensive soil-based cattle breeding.

Antwerp Book Fair

The Antwerp Book Fair (Dutch: (Antwerpse) Boekenbeurs) is a large trade fair for books, held annually at the beginning of November in Antwerp Expo, Antwerp, Belgium. It is organized by Boek.be. All Flemish and Dutch publishers, and several foreign language distributors present their newest books at the fair.

Belgium–Luxembourg Economic Union

The Belgium–Luxembourg Economic Union (Dutch: Belgisch-Luxemburgse Economische Unie, French: Union économique belgo-luxembourgeoise, Luxembourgish: Belsch-Lëtzebuerger Wirtschaftsunioun), abbreviated to BLEU or UEBL, is an economic union between Belgium and Luxembourg, two countries in the Benelux Union.

BLEU was created by a treaty, signed on 25 July 1921, despite a referendum against such a proposal, between Belgium and Luxembourg, and came into effect upon ratification by the Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies on 22 December 1922. Under the terms of the treaty, the economic frontier was lifted and the Belgian franc and Luxembourg franc were set at a fixed parity (though revised in 1935 and 1944) establishing a monetary union, which existed up until the introduction of the Euro. The original treaty lasted for fifty years, expiring in 1972; this was extended for ten years in 1982 and again in 1992. On 18 December 2002, the two countries and the three regions of Belgium signed a new convention.

It has been seen as the forerunner of Benelux Union, which was established as the Benelux Customs Union in 1944 by the London Customs Convention and also includes the Netherlands. While many aims of the BLEU have been subsumed by the Benelux Union, and later the European Union, it still has some relevance in being able to decide more precise measures than these organisations. International trade statistics were available for BLEU only as a combined entity until 1999, when European Community rules required split information.

Brussels Enterprises Commerce and Industry

The Brussels Enterprises Commerce and Industry (BECI) organization is a non profit organization representing companies of the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium. Its members, the different Brussels enterprises, represent companies in key industrial and service sectors. President of BECI is Marc Decorte and CEO is fr:Olivier Willocx.

Cercle de Lorraine

The Cercle de Lorraine or Club van Lotharingen is a Belgian business club, located in Brussels, Belgium. The Cercle, founded in 1998, is home to members from the country's two main linguistic communities.

It is a place of meeting and networking for, in particular, the leaders of private and public companies, the liberal professions and the personalities of the academic and political world.

It is to this multidisciplinary community that the Cercle brings a tool of exchange through various activities combining work and leisure in an exceptional place.

The combination of the quality restaurant, the terrace during the summer and the bar allows you to imagine all types of meetings, from one-on-one to the event of 1,000 covers, through those offered by the modularity of 12 salons. The latter (from 6 to 32 people around a single table) can be "privatized" for the benefit of a member and his guests for lunch, dinner or breakfast.

De Warande (club)

De Warande is a Flemish club, located in Brussels, Belgium. The club was founded in Brussels in 1988.

When founded in 1987, then club received an interest-free loan of €750.000 from Flanders to renovate its building at the Warandepark. In 2018, the Flemish Government granted the business club a 20-year interest-free loan of €800.000 , to "strengthen the Flemish presence in Brussels and promote the international [...] Flanders." Both loans are reimbursed by memberships for 50 or 60 Flemish ministers, heads of cabinet and top civil servants, equivalent to €800 per year, per membership.

Federation of Belgian Enterprises

The Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (Dutch: Verbond van Belgische Ondernemingen, VBO, French: Fédération des Entreprises de Belgique, FEB) is the only Belgian non-profit organization representing companies in all three regions of Belgium. Its members, the different Belgian sectorial employers' organizations, represent companies in key industrial and service sectors. All in all, it represents more than 30,000 businesses, of which 25,000 are small or medium-sized enterprises. Since May 2012, Pieter Timmermans is CEO of the Federation of Belgian Enterprises, and since March 2017, Bernard Gilliot of Tractebel is the President.

The VBO/FEB aims to help create jobs for the future and ensure that these jobs complement each other, especially in the service, industrial and construction sectors. In terms of jobs, the VBO/FEB represents approximately 1.5 million workers in the private sector.

Flemish Aerospace Group

The Flemish Aerospace Group (FLAG) is an association of Flemish aerospace industries and related partners, which is located in Flanders, the northern part of Belgium (Europe). The FLAG was founded in 1980 as part of the Derde Industriële Revolutie in Vlaanderen (E:third industrial revolution in Flanders) initiative of Gaston Geens and has about 80 members.

Flemish Diamond

The Flemish Diamond (in Dutch: Vlaamse Ruit) is the Flemish reference to a network of four metropolitan areas in Belgium, three of which are in the central provinces of Flanders, together with the Brussels Capital Region.

It consists of four agglomerations which form the four corners of an abstract diamond shape: Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp and Leuven. Over five million people live in this area, with a population density of about 820 per square kilometre.

List of Belgian provinces by GDP

This article lists Belgian provinces and regions (NUTS 2) by gross domestic product (GDP).

List of Belgian provinces by Human Development Index

This is a list of Belgian provinces and the Region of Brussels by Human Development Index as of 2017.

List of Belgians by net worth

This is a list of Belgian billionaires based on an annual assessment of wealth and assets compiled and published by Forbes magazine in 2017.

National Bank of Belgium

The National Bank of Belgium (NBB; Dutch: Nationale Bank van België, French: Banque nationale de Belgique, German: Belgische Nationalbank) has been the central bank of Belgium since 1850. The National Bank of Belgium was established with 100% private capital by a law of 5 May 1850 as a Société Anonyme (SA). It is a member of the European System of Central Banks.

The Governor of the National Bank is a member of the Governing Council, the main decision-making body of the Eurosystem, particularly as regards monetary policy; the National Bank of Belgium participates in the preparation and execution of its decisions.

Apart from monetary policy, the National Bank of Belgium takes on other tasks which can be classified as follows:

the issuing of euro banknotes

the printing of euro banknotes and the placing in circulation of euro coins

the management of foreign currency reserves

the collection, circulation and analysis of economic and financial information

the stability of the Belgian financial sector - see also CBFA

the role of financial ambassador to international economic institutions

services for the Belgian State

services for the Belgian financial sector

services for the general public50% of the NBB stock is freely traded on Euronext Brussels, the other 50% of the shares are owned by the Belgian government. (400.000 shares in total)

Science Parks of Wallonia

Created in 2002, SPoW -Science Parks of Wallonia-, is an association of seven Belgian science parks located in Wallonia:

Louvain-la-Neuve Science Park

Liège Science Park

Crealys Science Park

Aéropole Science Park

Initialis Science Park

Qualitis Science Park

Novalis Science Park The main objectives of the network are:

To take part to the regional development and the innovation process

To ensure the promotion of the Science Parks

To foster relationships and collaborations between the innovative companies located on the Parks.The business incubators of the parks also provide a whole set of services to fledgling spin-offs.

The seven University-related research parks are currently home to more than 600 companies and 13500 employees.

Science and technology in Flanders

Science and technology in Flanders, being the Flemish Community and more specifically the northern region of Belgium (Europe), is well developed with the presence of several universities and research institutes. These are strongly spread over all Flemish cities, from Kortrijk and Bruges in the Western side, over Ghent as a major university center alongside Antwerp, Brussels and Leuven to Hasselt and Diepenbeek in the Eastern side.

Science and technology in Wallonia

Science and technology in Wallonia, the southern region of Belgium (Europe), is well developed with the presence of several universities and research institutes.

Société Générale de Belgique

The Société générale de Belgique (Dutch: Generale Maatschappij van België; literally "General Company of Belgium") was a large Belgian bank and later holdings company which existed between 1822 and 2003.

The Société générale was originally founded as an investment bank by William I of the Netherlands in 1822 when Belgium was under Dutch rule. After the Belgian Revolution in 1830, it served as the national bank until 1850. Its investments in the national economy contributed to the rapidity of the Industrial Revolution in the region. As a holding company, the Société générale exercised considerable indirect control over the Belgian and colonial economy.

Various elements of the company, including its banking wing, were split off over the course of its existence. In the 1980s, Suez begun to buy up the company's shares and, in 1998, the Société générale was taken over by Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux. It ceased to exist in 2003 when it was merged with Tractebel to form Suez-Tractebel.

Union Wallonne des Entreprises

The Walloon Union of Companies or Union Wallonne des Entreprises (UWE) is the Walloon employers organization.

Vlaams Economisch Verbond

The Vlaams Economisch Verbond or VEV is a Flemish employers' organization and lobbying group. It was founded in 1908, by among others Lieven Gevaert as the Vlaamsch Handelsverbond, to create a Flemish counterpart of the Federation of Belgian Enterprises, and it became the VEV in 1926.

The main objectives of the organization were the development of the Flemish economy and to improve the status of Flemish as a business language in Flanders. It is an important partner of the Flemish government on business in Flanders, and also participates in the Socio-economic Council of Flanders.

In 2004, VEV formed an alliance with the Flemish Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CCI’s) to create Voka (Employers organization). Today, there are still eight Voka - Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CCI) in Flanders (West Flanders, East Flanders, Antwerp-Waasland, Kempen, Mechelen, Halle-Vilvoorde, Leuven and Limburg). Together with the VEV, these eight CCI's form the Voka-Alliance, the largest Flemish network of enterprises.

This 'Voka-Alliance' unites more than 17 000 businesses from all sectors within the Flemish region. The alliance is politically independent; there is no structural funding from government. It is a non-profit organisation: small, medium and large-sized companies of all sectors everywhere in Flanders can become member on a voluntary basis.

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