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Trade balance

Number one exporter for more than 10 years

Source: National Bank of Belgium according to the communautarian concept (including transit and international distribution centres)

The Belgian chemicals, plastics and life sciences industry’s trade balance underlines the importance of its international operations.

In 2018, Belgium’s chemicals, plastics and life sciences sector exported 130 billion euro of products – one-third of total Belgian exports. Representing over three quarter of its production in 2018, this makes the industry the country’s number one exporter. It also accounts for 12% of total EU-28 exports.

The chemicals, plastics and life sciences industry generated a positive trade balance of 25 billion euro in 2018, a figure which has increased by 31% in the last ten years. The sector contributes positively to the overall Belgian trade balance (13.7 billion euro).

Neighbouring countries are the sector’s main trading partners: 41% of exports go to Germany, France and the Netherlands, with Germany alone accounting for 23% of the total. Outside Europe, North America (especially the USA) remains the major trading partner, with a share of 9%. International trade with fast-growing countries is also growing steadily. The sector’s exports to Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRICs) rose particularly fast, more than doubling between 2008 and 2018 to reach 5.5% of the total.

BRIC: Brazil, Russia, India, China. NAFTA: United States, Canada, Mexico. // Source: National Bank of Belgium according to the communautarian concept

BRIC: Brazil, Russia, India, China. NAFTA: United States, Canada, Mexico. // Source: National Bank of Belgium according to the communautarian concept

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