This modern, private-enterprise economy has capitalized on its central geographic location, highly developed transport network, and diversified industrial and commercial base. 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. Roughly three-quarters of its trade is with other EU countries. (Source: CIA World Factbook)
Key exchange rates:
Interest rate: 1%
Current inflation: 4.5%
Inflation target: 2%
Tax rate: 21%
Major Belgian owned companies:
KBC is the second largest bancassurance group in Belgium, and the eighteenth largest bank in Europe, catering mainly for retail customers, small and medium-sized enterprises and private banking clientele.
Anheuser-Busch InBev is the leading global brewer and one of the world’s top five consumer products companies, with a portfolio of more than 200 international brands that includes Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck’s.
National Bank of Belgium The National Bank has been Belgium's central bank since 1850. It performs tasks in the general interest at both national and international level.
KBC KBC is a bancassurance group targeting retail customers, small and medium-sized enterprises and private banking clientele. It specialises in retail bancassurance and asset management activities, as well as in the provision of services to businesses.
Dr. Karel Mul Law Offices The firm specialising in all matters related to Belgian and European company and commercial law, at reasonable rates.
Billiet & Co Services include a wide range of legal expertise in European Community law, banking, securities, international banking and business law and much more.
TCLM TCLM is one of the leading consulting firms in Belgium. Its consultants offer specialist advice to private sector firms, the public sector and the not-for-profit sector.
Ernst & Young Belgium Ernst & Young Accountants is the market leader in Belgium in the field of rendering advice to small and medium-sized companies, and one of the world's leading of services in assurance, consulting, corporate finance and tax.
Official languages: Dutch (local variant called Flemish), French, German
Government: Constitutional monarchy
EU accession: 1951 (founding member)
Population: 10,403,951 (July 2008 est.)
Internet TLD: .be
Calling code: +32
Eurochambres, the European Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, is one of the key representatives of business to the European institutions. It voices the interests of over 19 million member enterprises in 45 European countries through a network of 2000 regional and local Chambers represented by 45 national - and one transnational - organisations. More than 90% of these enterprises are small or medium enterprises, with chamber members employing over 120 million employees.
Eurochambres is the sole European body to serve the interests of every sector and size of European business - due to the multi-sectoral membership of Chambers - and the only one so close to business, as a result of the Chambers’ regional focus.
The Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Belgium was created as a private organisation in 1875. It defends the interests of its members and represents its chamber network at national, European and international level. There are 16 chambers of commerce in Belgium, made up of more than 25,000 businesses.