Trade and economic relations

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Belgium-Israel trade

According to the figures of the Belgian Foreign Trade Agency, in 2011, Israel ranked 22nd in the league table of Belgium's main clients, just after Danemark and before the United Arab Emirates. Belgian exports to Israel amounted to 2,325.3 million euros, compared to 2,182.8 million in 2010, ie a 6.52% increase. Precious stones and metals (primarily diamonds) represented more than half of the total Belgian exports to Israel. Regarding imports, Israel was Belgium's 23rd. supplier in 2011, ranking after Luxemburg but preceding Austria. Belgian imports from Israel grew by 11.8% from 2010, amounting to 2,118.2 million euros in 2011.

With the devolution of powers to the three regions of Belgium (Brussels, Flanders and Walloon), each region is now in charge of promoting its foreign trade. This is why in Belgian Embassies around the world, one may find more than one commercial attaché, each representing one or sometimes two regions.

In Israel, Mr. Jacob Lempert is the Commercial Attaché for the Flemish Region and Mr. Matthieu Labeau is the Commercial Attaché for the Brussels-Capital and Walloon Regions. Feel free to contact them for all your import requirements. They will help you locate the relevant Belgian producers. You may also contact them if your company is considering establishing a European base. They will give you all the relevant information and connect you to Belgian bodies that can help you set up a base in Belgium.

Belgian economy at a glance

Belgium has a highly developed market economy. Globally, it ranks seventh in per capita GDP and is one of the highest per capita exporters in the world.

Belgium belongs to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It ranks seventh in per capita GDP worldwide ($29.000). The GDP is dominated by a very large service sector (72% of the GDP), followed by manufacturing (26%) and agriculture (1.4%). With exports equivalent to about two-thirds of GNP, it is one of the highest per capita exporters in the world and depends heavily on world trade. Belgium exports twice as much per capita as Germany and five times as much as Japan. Belgium's trade advantages are derived from its central geographic location, developed infrastructure and distribution centers, as well as from its highly skilled, multilingual and productive work force. With around 75% of its exports going to the EU member nations, Belgium is most attractive as a European commercial and distribution hub.

The Belgian industrial sector 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 virtually no natural resources. Nonetheless, most traditional industrial sectors are represented in the economy, including steel, textiles, refining, chemicals, food processing, pharmaceuticals, automotive, electronics, and machinery fabrication.

You may find more detailed information on the following websites:

Foreign investment

With its cosmopolitan setting, its ideal location at the heart of Europe and its highly skilled manpower, Belgium is a top choice for many foreign companies seeking to establish a presence in Europe. The three regions are courting foreign investors with a host of incentives and benefits.

Belgium is ideally suited for European service, manufacturing and distribution headquarters. It is a natural gateway to Europe, at the very heart of the huge European market and the ideal position to reach the largest number of manufacturers or consumers. From Brussels, one has easy and quick access to neighboring countries. Belgium’s railway network is one of the most concentrated in the world, offering easy transport to every commercial and industrial center from Scandinavia to Turkey .

Belgium also has one of the most modern and dense highway systems in Europe, all lit and toll-free. Traffic is less congested than in other European hubs. Seven international expressways connect the French, German and Dutch motorways. The proximity of the Eurotunnel is an additional asset.

Belgium offers world-class sea transport facilities with the port of Antwerp, the second largest in Europe, Zeebrugge and Ghent. The country has a highly developed inland waterway system, connected to the neighboring countries. Brussels National airport is the fifth biggest cargo airport in Europe. The Liege airport has been increasing its cargo activities. It is the European headquarters of Clal Israel.

Belgium  has an international setting, highly skilled people with a flair for languages, and an excellent education system. It is a top choice among many foreign companies looking to establish a presence in Europe. U.S. and other foreign companies account for approximately 11% of the total work force.

The Belgian Government encourages new foreign investment as a means to promote employment. With regional devolution, Flanders, Brussels, and Walloon are now courting potential foreign investors and offer a host of incentives and benefits. 

Under the evolving federal system, each region is now in charge of promoting investments to its own territory. Foreign companies wishing to establish a business in Belgium have now considerably more contacts with regional officials:

Israeli companies wishing to receive information about the variety of benefits they may get upon starting a business in Belgium, are invited to visit these sites and contact one of the commercial attachés of the Embassy for follow up: Mr. Jacob Lempert for the Flemish region (, and Mr. Gino Nale for the Brussels and Walloon regions (