Economy in Belgium

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Economy—overview: This highly developed private enterprise economy has capitalized on its central geographic location highly developed transport network and diversified industrial and commercial base. Industry is concentrated mainly in the populous Flemish area in the north although the government is encouraging reinvestment in the southern region of Walloon. With few natural resources Belgium must import substantial quantities of raw materials and export a large volume of manufactures making its economy unusually dependent on the state of world markets. Two-thirds of its trade is with other EU countries. The economy grew at a strong 4% annual pace during the period 1988-90 slowed to 1% in 1991-92 dropped by 1.5% in 1993 recovered with moderate 2.3% growth in 1994 and 1995 and fell off again to 1.4% in 1996 with continued substantial unemployment. Belgium's public debt fell from 127% of GDP in 1996 to 124% in 1997 and the government is trying to control its expenditures to bring the figure more into line with other industrialized countries. GDP growth of 2.5% is forecast for 1998.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$236.3 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 2.3% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$23 200 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:

agriculture: 2%

industry: 28%

services: 70% (1994)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 1.7% (1997 est.)

Labor force:

total: 4.283 million (1997)

by occupation: services 69.7% industry 27.7% agriculture 2.6% (1992)

Unemployment rate: 12.75% (1997)


revenues: $NA

expenditures: $NA including capital expenditures of $NA

Industries: engineering and metal products motor vehicle assembly processed food and beverages chemicals basic metals textiles glass petroleum coal

Industrial production growth rate: 9.7% (1995)

Electricity—capacity: 13.592 million kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 69.56 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 7 306 kWh (1995 est.)

Agriculture—products: sugar beets fresh vegetables fruits grain tobacco; beef veal pork milk


total value: $172 billion (f.o.b. 1997) Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union (BLEU)

commodities: iron and steel transportation equipment tractors diamonds petroleum products

partners: EU 67.2% (Germany 19%) US 5.8% former Communist countries 1.4% (1994)


total value: $158.5 billion (c.i.f. 1997) Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union

commodities: fuels grains chemicals foodstuffs

partners: EU 75% (Germany 22.1%) US 5% former Communist countries 0.8% (1997)

Debt—external: $31.3 billion (1992 est.)

Economic aid:

donor: ODA $808 million (1993)

Currency: 1 Euro (€) = 100 Eurocent

Exchange rates: Euro (€) per US$1—0.7697 (Febr 2004)

Fiscal year: calendar year

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