Belgium’s Top Trading Partners

Belgium’s Top Trading Partners

by Free Country Flags

A founding member of the European Union, the Kingdom of Belgium borders the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and France. Belgium also lies across the English Channel from the United Kingdom.

Belgium shipped US$429.3 billion worth of products around the globe in 2017. That dollar figure represents roughly 2.7% of overall global exports estimated at $15.952 trillion for one year earlier in 2016.

From a continental perspective, three-quarters (75.3%) of Belgian exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 11.8% were sold to Asian importers.

Belgium shipped 5.8% worth to North American clients. Another 3.3% arrived in Africa with 1.6% going to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.

Belgium’s Top Trading Partners

Top 15

Below is a list showcasing 15 of Belgium’s top trading partners. These are countries that imported the most Belgian shipments by dollar value during 2017. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Belgian exports.

  1. Germany: US$70.7 billion (16.5% of total Belgian exports)
  2. France: $63.8 billion (14.9%)
  3. Netherlands: $51.4 billion (12%)
  4. United Kingdom: $36 billion (8.4%)
  5. Italy: $20.9 billion (4.9%)
  6. United States: $20.6 billion (4.8%)
  7. Spain: $11.8 billion (2.8%)
  8. Poland: $9.2 billion (2.1%)
  9. India: $8.9 billion (2.1%)
  10. China: $8.9 billion (2.1%)
  11. Sweden: $7.5 billion (1.7%)
  12. Switzerland: $7 billion (1.6%)
  13. Luxembourg: $6.4 billion (1.5%)
  14. Turkey: $5.8 billion (1.4%)
  15. Russia: $4.4 billion (1%)

Over three-quarters (77.1%) of Belgian exports in 2017 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.

Among these top importers, Switzerland increased its import purchases from Belgium the fastest–up 19.7% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place was Turkey (up 18.6%) followed by Russia (up 17%) and China (up 16%).

Leading the decliners, America’s purchases of exported Belgian products shrank in value by -10.5%.

Deficits

As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.

It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.

Belgium incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries:

  1. Netherlands: -US$18.2 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2017)
  2. Ireland: -$14.5 billion
  3. United States: -$7.9 billion
  4. China: -$7.8 billion
  5. Russia: -$6.1 billion
  6. Japan: -$5.9 billion
  7. Singapore: -$3.4 billion
  8. Norway: -$3.1 billion
  9. Mexico: -$2.6 billion
  10. Vietnam: -$1.7 billion

Among Belgium’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Belgian deficits with Norway (up 59.4%), Russia (up 34%) and Mexico (up 29.6%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Belgium’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Belgium to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.

Surpluses

Overall Belgium posted a $26.4-billion trade surplus in 2017, up 4.4% from its $25.3-billion positive balance for 2016. Below are the top product-specific surpluses for Belgium.

Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.

Belgium incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries:

  1. France: US$25.4 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2017)
  2. United Kingdom: $16.5 billion
  3. Germany: $15.2 billion
  4. Italy: $6.4 billion
  5. Poland: $4.4 billion
  6. Luxembourg: $3.6 billion
  7. India: $3.5 billion
  8. Nigeria: $2.6 billion
  9. Spain: $2.5 billion
  10. Austria: $2.2 billion

Among Belgium’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Belgian surpluses with Spain (up 42.7%), Nigeria (up 31.9%) and Luxembourg (up 24.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Belgium’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Belgium to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.

Companies

Companies Servicing Belgian Trading Partners

Belgium placed 11 corporations among the Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of major Belgian export companies that Forbes ranked:

  • Anheuser-Busch InBev (beverages)
  • Belgacom (telecommunications services)
  • Delhaize Group (food retail)
  • Solvay (diversified chemicals)
  • UCB (pharmaceuticals)
  • Umicore (diversified metals, mining)

According to IMPORTERS.com listings for Belgian suppliers, the following are examples of companies that ship products from Belgium to importing customers around the globe. Shown within parenthesis are products that the Belgian business provides.

  • ANS Trading (clothing, footwear)
  • Aor Trading (alcoholic beverages)
  • Biosport (food supplements, vitamins)
  • Brussels Trading Company (heavy equipment)
  • Lyobel (frozen herbs)
  • Medinvents (soft tissue biopsy systems)
  • Mskx Company (hunting arms)
  • Raw Materials Recycling (paper, plastics)
  • VD Management (fresh/frozen seafood)
  • Webby’s International SA (educational toys, games)


 
See also Belgium’s Top 10 Imports, Belgium’s Top 10 Exports, Highest Value Belgian Import Products and Highest Value Belgian Export Products

Research Sources:
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 23, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on March 23, 2018

Investopedia, Net Importer Definition. Accessed on March 23, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 23, 2018

IMPORTERS.com The Online Market for G20 Importers, Belgium Import Export Directory. Accessed on March 23, 2016