Trade links between the US and Belgium remain strong. This valuable bilateral trade partnership was highlighted in an informational session hosted by the Federal Public Service (FPS) Economy in November.
The US is the fifth largest trading partner of Belgium, just behind other leading European economies including Germany, France, The Netherlands, and the UK, and represents 18.3% of the total value of goods to non-EU countries. In 2014, more than half of these goods exported consisted of chemical products, medicines and plastic materials.
Moreover, the US is also committed to investing in Belgium. Currently, 900 US companies directly employ more than 140,000 people in Belgium and continue to expand their operations and support job creation.
Trade in services accounts for a large volume of bilateral trade. According to the National Bank of Belgium, the services Belgium provided to the US in 2014 were valued at €9.47 billion. This is an increase of 14.2% in comparison with the previous year. In 2014, Belgium purchased services to the value of €8.76 billion from the US, which is a 44% increase from 2013.
The FPS Economy carried out a study this year, looking at the current trade situation and analyzing the different sectors and regions as well as the impact on employment and the environment.
Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs mentioned that Belgium remains committed to negotiating Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in his key note speech at AmCham’s Annual Dinner. The minister said that TTIP presents a great opportunity for American and Belgian businesses to harmonize regulatory standards and that it would strengthen mutual investment and trade across the Atlantic.
There are still many open issues even after the most recent round of TTIP negotiations in Miami. For example, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are uncertain whether they will actually be able to reap any benefits from this agreement and fear that larger companies will dominate the transatlantic market.
Although the negotiations are far from being finished, TTIP could be a driving force in ensuring a robust transatlantic economy and a step up for US-Belgium trade relations.