Discusses key economic indicators and trade statistics, which countries are dominant in the market, and other issues that affect trade.
Belgium is a compact and diverse market, located at the crossroads of Europe. It is composed of the francophone Wallonia region to the south, the Dutch speaking Flanders region in the north, and the bilingual capital region of Brussels, in addition to a small community of German speakers. With a population of 11.58 million people in a territory comparable in size to the state of Maryland, it is densely populated. It enjoys one of the highest per capita incomes in Europe, with a relatively balanced income distribution, resulting in widely distributed purchasing power among its residents.
Belgium’s GDP was nearly $600 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $610 billion in 2023. Its bilateral trade with the United States totaled over $54.7 billion in 2021. Distinguished by its major port (Antwerp-Bruges is the second largest port in Europe) and first-class logistical infrastructure, a significant portion of bilateral trade either originates in, or is destined for, other countries in Europe. The U.S. ranked as Belgium’s fourth principal non-European Union (EU) trading partner; with Belgium ranking as the 13th largest recipient of U.S. exports in 2024. In 2021, total stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) from Belgium to the United States was $63 billion, and U.S. FDI in Belgium was nearly $62 billion. Top U.S. industries for Belgian FDI were Software & IT Services, Plastics, Food & Beverage, Chemicals, Electronic Components, and Transportation.
Often referred to as “the capital of Europe,” the Belgian capital of Brussels is home to the headquarters of the EU and of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), as well as hundreds of international institutions, associations and multinational corporations.