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Economy of Belgium – Overview
Belgium is ranked as the 11th largest export economy in the world and enjoys a positive trade balance of $23.9 billion after deducting $371 billion worth of annual imports from its export total of $394 billion.
The GDP of Belgium is calculated as $466 billion and that equates to a GDP per capita of $46,400.
The country has an unemployment rate of 7.3% (Eurostat figures) and government debt represents 105.7% of its GDP (Eurostat).
Economic growth has increased by more than 1.2% in the last five years and GDP is predicted to grow by more than 1.5% over the next few years.
Belgium’s Top 5 Commodity Exports
|Refined Petroleum||$18.1 billion|
|Petroleum Gas||$4.56 billion|
Belgium’s Other Notable Exports
- Cars – $30.3 billion
- Packaged Medicaments – $26.2 billion
- Human or Animal Blood – $13.1 billion
- Nitrogen Heterocyclic Compounds – $8.67 billion
- Medical Instruments – $6.5 billion
Top export destinations of Belgium are Germany ($66.4 billion), France ($61.3 billion), Netherlands ($44.7 billion), the United Kingdom ($35.4 billion) and the United States ($23 billion).
Belgium’s Top 5 Commodity Imports
|Refined Petroleum||$15.9 billion|
|Crude petroleum||$11.5 billion|
|Scrap Copper||$1.04 billion|
Belgium's Other Notable Imports
- Cars – $31.4 billion
- Packaged Medicaments – $21.4 billion
- Human or Animal Blood – $11 billion
- Vehicle Parts – $7.25 billion
- Computers – $3.56 billion
More Information About Belgium’s Imports/Exports
Refined petroleum accounts for 4.6% of Belgium’s total annual exports and the country is the 8th largest exporter in the world with a 4.4% share of a global market that is worth $412 billion each year.
The global diamonds export market is worth $127 billion per year and Belgium is the third largest exporter with a 12.4% market share.
Export and import data from four countries in particular – India, Belgium, Israel, and Dubai – are considered to be the main barometer for the economic health of the diamond market and Antwerp is one of the key trading centers.
Petroleum gas accounts for 1.2% of Belgium’s total annual exports and the country has a 3.6% share of a global market that is worth $127 billion each year.
Belgium is the 12th largest petroleum gas exporter and only one of the top 15 exporting countries (United States) has managed to increase the value of its exports in the last five years.
Gold exports represent 0.42% of Belgium’s exports and they have a 0.58% share of a global export market that is worth $288 billion and dominated by Switzerland (28%) and Hong Kong (19%).
Annual world coffee exports total $30.6 billion and Belgium ranks as the 8th largest exporter with a 3.2% share of the global market.
Neighboring France has managed to increase the value of its coffee exports by 80.7% during the last five years, while ten of the top exporting countries, including Belgium who suffered an 18.2% decline in that period, suffered a fall in sales.
A Few Interesting Facts About Belgium
- The law courts of Brussels is the world’s largest courts of justice.
- Belgium has one of the highest tax rates in Europe and its tax revenues represent 48% of the country’s GDP.
- The country holds the record for the longest government formation in history. It once took 541 days to form a coalition and a further 48 days to finalize government positions, meaning it was without a government for longer than war-torn Iraq.
All figures based on OEC/IMF 2016 calculations and projections unless otherwise stated.