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The Importance of US Companies in Belgium

US companies are essential to the Belgian economy. Through our Importance of US Companies in Belgium series of reports, we examine their contribution in terms of job creation, innovation and local community engagement, among other themes. In 2015, total US investment in Belgium amounted to $45 billion. The US remains the largest source of foreign direct investment in Belgium – indeed, in 2014, 44 of 198 (22%) new FDI projects in Belgium came from the US.

Employment and Fiscal Contribution

This investment translates into jobs in the local economy. The 900 majority-owned US groups active in Belgium directly employ more than 125,000 people, which represents 4.3% of total private sector employment in the country. The US Top 50 – the largest US companies in Belgium as measured by employment – directly employed 83,924 people and contributed more than €1.6 billion to the Belgian State in taxes and social security in 2014.

US Top 50 Companies in Belgium - Ranked by Employees in 2014

Company Employees   Company Employees
1. ManpowerGroup 13,443   26. Aleris 994
2. Johnson & Johnson (Janssen Pharmaceutica) 4,983   27. Accenture 993
3. Ford 4,015   28. Estée Lauder 963
4. Caterpillar 3,942   29. DuPont 904
5. McDonald’s 3,347   30. General Electric 898
6. Coca-Cola 2,607   31. Fedex 863
7. Robert Half 2,453   32. Carlson (Radisson, Carlson Wagonlit Travel) 852
8. Mondelēz International 2,347   33. VF Europe 813
9. Baxter 2,233   34. Monsanto 783
10. Temco (Euroclean) 2,196   35. Eastman (Solutia-Taminco) 781
11. ExxonMobil Petroleum & Chemical 2,163   36. McKesson 765
12. Hewlett-Packard 2,155   37. Berkshire Hathaway (Chemtool, Heinz, Lubrizol, Roxell…) 743
13. Procter & Gamble 2,149   38. Kellogg’s (Pringles) 728
14. Mohawk (Unilin) 2,034   39. ON Semiconductor 717
15. Pfizer 1,988   40. CEVA 714
16. Paccar (DAF Trucks) 1,984   41. The Bank of New York Mellon 686
17. Nike 1,896   42. Cisco Systems 646
18. IBM 1,497   43. WhiteWave (Alpro) 640
19. TE Connectivity 1,265   44. 3M 632
20. Tenneco 1,204   45. Honeywell 622
21. UPS 1,124   46. Dow Corning 616
22. Cargill 1,095   47. UTC (Carrier, Otis, Pratt & Whitney…) 610
23. Johnson Controls 1,091   48. Becton Dickinson 577
24. Merck & Co (MSD) 1,035   49. Aramark 562
25. Pepsico 1,026   50. CSC 550

manufacturing

US companies provide 12.1% of manufacturing jobs in Belgium, and nearly half of US employment in Belgium is in industrial companies. Through their supply chains and distribution channels, manufacturing companies also generate a significant amount of indirect employment. As a result of advanced automation and other new technologies, manufacturing output continues to increase while at the same time manufacturing employment is declining – in Belgium and other industrial countries. With this report, AmCham Belgium would like to encourage an open discussion about the future of industry in Belgium and the associated opportunities. The report includes a showcase of US companies with industrial operations in Belgium.

 

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R&D and Innovation

US companies contribute significantly to the success of Belgium’s innovation-driven economy. They account for approximately one-third of total private sector R&D investment and directly employ more than 5,000 people in R&D in Belgium. Belgium is an attractive location for R&D activities, and US companies benefit from the strong collaboration with universities and public research institutions, leading to the development and launch of many new products and services. This publication showcases a selection of products designed or developed in Belgium by US companies.

 

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Community Impact

US companies are also actively engaged in the local community through a vast array of projects which help advance overall societal well-being . This is what we call Community Impact. There are direct community benefits from proximity to US companies – 81% of projects are organized in the company’s immediate surroundings. Projects are well-matched to societal needs, with a particular emphasis on youth issues, and they are increasingly linked to the company’s core business.

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