Flemish exports once again break records in 2018

29 March 2019

In 2018, the value of exports by Flemish companies was no less than 328 billion euros, an increase of 3.45% compared to 2017. Globally, Flanders is the fifteenth biggest exporter. The upcoming Brexit had therefore not (yet) had any impact on the Flemish economy. Flemish Minister-President Geert Bourgeois hopes that this will continue to be the case. “We are doing incredibly well in Flanders, but I hope, in the interest of Flemish prosperity, that my successor can also cite such good export figures. A hard Brexit is a very big threat,” says Geert Bourgeois.

The number-one lifeline of Flanders

It is now the ninth year in a row that Flemish exports have increased, a record. Once again, Flanders is good for over 83% of total Belgian exports. Over the whole term of office from 2014, our exports increased by 11.5%, good for 34 billion euros. Export is therefore the number-one lifeline of Flanders. One in three Flemish jobs is linked to exports. “So for me, this was one of my absolute priorities in this term of office. I am satisfied with these results. We must continue our efforts in this regard,” says Geert Bourgeois.

Importance of single market

The lion’s share of exports went to countries within the European Union, with neighbours Germany, the Netherlands, France, the United Kingdom and Luxembourg heading the list. “This proves the enormous importance of our single internal market for a small nation like Flanders. If the United Kingdom drops out of the Union without an agreement, then according to the KU Leuven no fewer than 28,000 Flemish jobs and no less than 2.6% of GDP The gross domestic product (GDP) is the total monetary value of all goods and services produced within a country, both by companies and the government. This term is usually used as a benchmark for a country’s prosperity. This is why the N-VA closely follows the evolution of the Belgian GDP. GDP are in peril,” says Minister-President Bourgeois.

Canada increases by 17%

Outside Europe, exports also increased to Africa, the United States and Canada. “The increase of 17% to Canada is a good thing for the Flemish economy. The close economic interconnectedness between Canada and the European Union and Flanders that resulted in the CETA free-trade agreement is therefore contributing to our Flemish prosperity. If we want to secure our export figures, we must also in future continue to work on strong trade relations with countries outside the European Union,” the Minister-President says.

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