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The Warsaw Voice » National Voice » October 29, 2010
Belgium in Poland
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Trading With the World
October 29, 2010   
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Flanders has been a major player in European trade since the Middle Ages. The world’s first stock exchange opened in Bruges in the 14th century.

Today, Flanders continues this trading tradition in that it is still an export-oriented region. In 2006, Flemish exports accounted for no less than 58 percent of Belgium’s GNP and over 80 percent of Belgium’s exports. Between 1993 and 2006, despite growing pressure from China, the Flemish region was able to increase its share of the global merchandise trade by 0.53 percent, the second largest rate of growth after China.

The service industry accounts for almost 70 percent of Flemish exports, the secondary industries for almost 29 percent and the primary industries for 1.3 percent. Broken down by sector, chemical and pharmaceutical products had the lead in 2006 with more that 15 percent, followed by the automotive industry with almost 15 percent (around 800,000 cars are assembled here annually), machinery and equipment with almost 13 percent, synthetics/rubber and non-precious metals with almost 10 percent, and diamonds and precious stones, with over 7 percent.

In the information and technology sector, Flanders Graphics Valley, Flanders DSP Valley and Flanders Multimedia Valley, all three formal clusters of firms working in those areas, perform an increasingly important role. The state-of-the-art R&D of Flanders Strategic Research Centres is another major contribution to the success of Flanders hi-tech companies. There are also a number of leading firms in the field of data security software.

In logistics, Flanders is a hub of Europe. It has four major ports: Antwerp, Ghent, Zeebrugge and Ostend, three airports and one of the world’s most dense road and rail networks, all leading straight to wider European markets.
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